Miami Springs is a small community with 4,879 households with a population of 14,176 residents.  That’s an average 2.91 residents per household.  But new developments promise to increase the number of households and the number of residents.  There are three housing projects that are adding apartment complexes to our community.  The Hook Square / Canal Street Apartment Complex, the 29 Palmetto Drive Apartments across from the former Suntrust drive-through tellers, and the 641-649 Palmetto Drive Apartments near 36th and Fairway Drive (behind the AT&T building).

So, how many households are being added to Miami Springs and how many new residents can we expect?  Well, let’s break down each project and how many units each project is adding.

Hook Square / Canal Street Apartment Complex

  • 3 Story Building
  • # of housing units:  51 apartments
  • New Households:  51
  • New resident estimate:  148 new residents
  • Residential Parking Spaces:  70
  • Parking Spaces / Unit:  1.37
51 New Apartment Adding Density to Dowtown Miami Springs
51 New Apartment Adding Density to Dowtown Miami Springs

Of all the projects, the Downtown Development has the highest density.  It’s adding 51 apartments downtown (instead of 2nd and 3rd floor office space that would have brought in more jobs and attracted further investment, business owners, and gainfully employed people who could afford to pay to support our local businesses).

51 New Apartment Adding Density to Dowtown Miami Springs
51 New Apartment Adding Density to Dowtown Miami Springs
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The Downtown Development is also the most controversial. The City created a special downtown gateway district that did away with the old FAR requirements and parking requirements.  Parking is bad now and the project isn’t online yet.  And thanks to the geniuses that created the Gateway District, it’s only going to get worse.

New Parking Garage at Canal Street Apartment Complex
New Parking Garage at Canal Street Apartment Complex

Yes.  This apartment complex does have a garage.  But the garage doesn’t even support 2 cars per unit.  So clearly, the residents of this complex will be taking up street parking.  (The fantasy of driverless cars and the masses ditching their cars for mass transit and Uber is exactly that…a fantasy.)

Downtown Parking: A Problem that Promises to Get Worse

This complex was approved with just 1.37 residential parking spaces per unit.  Do you think 1.37 residential parking spaces per unit is enough for (44) two bedroom apartments and (7) three bedroom apartments?  No.  It’s not a joke.  It’s the ugly truth.  Despite promises and requests of no overnight parking by then councilman Jaime Petralanda, the residents at this complex, by design and with no other choice, will 100% be parking along Canal Street and Curtiss Parkway.  That’s just the reality.

New Parking Garage at Canal Street Apartment Complex
New Parking Garage at Canal Street Apartment Complex

And something else that’s crazy about this project.  They won’t be adding trees to this property.  That’s right.  There won’t be any oak trees, palm trees, or any foliage to shade the concrete monstrosity.  In a deal made with the city officials, the developers will be planting trees across the street along the canal bank.  Seriously.  They are going to plant trees ACROSS the street away from their property.  Trees the property owner won’t have to maintain.  Trees the city will need to maintain.  More trees where we already have trees.  And no trees where we actually need them…to make this development look less like a concrete jungle and more like Tree City USA.  I’m sorry, but that was just stupid on the part of the city officials to agree to this.  There was plenty of opportunity to put trees on their side of the property along Canal Street, along Curtiss Parkway, and along Hook Square.  Unlike other communities requiring trees around new developments, this one won’t have any.

New Parking Garage at Canal Street Apartment Complex
New Parking Garage at Canal Street Apartment Complex

Furthermore, to get some of the concessions these developers wanted, they were supposed add Pueblo Revival elements.  This project looks nothing like Pueblo, but they wanted credit for paving a new alleyway.  Big freaking deal.

New Parking Garage at Canal Street Apartment Complex
New Parking Garage at Canal Street Apartment Complex

As you may remember, it was Councilwoman Maria Mitchell who felt uncomfortable with the concessions the city was giving, and in return we didn’t get a whole lot.  She voted against the project at the time.  Voters rewarded her commitment to the city and she became the first female mayor of Miami Springs.

51 New Apartments + Retail at Canal Street Complex
51 New Apartments + Retail at Canal Street Complex

Look at all the concrete above.  The two existing Palm Trees add some life.  Wouldn’t it have looked better with Oak Trees, Poinciana Trees, or any kind of foliage to add a shade canopy along the this corridor?  It must be nice for a developer to donate a few trees and say, “Here…You deal with it. We won’t put anything on our property.”  I’m sorry, but that’s disgusting.  And I don’t blame the developer.  I blame the city officials who allowed it.

51 New Apartments + Retail at Canal Street Complex
51 New Apartments + Retail at Canal Street Complex

It would have been much nicer to add trees all along Curtiss to beautify the entrance to Miami Springs as a green entrance instead of a concrete jungle.

51 New Apartments + Retail at Canal Street Complex
51 New Apartments + Retail at Canal Street Complex

Below you see the lovely view downtown Miami Springs will have of a…parking garage.  To say that the Miami Springs we once loved and cherished no longer exists is an understatement.

Downtown Miami Springs New Construction
Downtown Miami Springs New Construction

But hey, that’s our opinion. What do you think of the changes happening in Miami Springs?  And don’t get me started on the questionable dealings that increased the FAR to allow the prior landowner to sell the property and make a huge windfall.

Make of this what you will, but the architect of this deal is no longer associated with the City of Miami Springs.  And most of the politicians associated with this deal are also gone.  Those are the facts.  You can decide what that means.

Downtown Miami Springs New Construction
Downtown Miami Springs New Construction

29 Palmetto Drive

  • 3 Story Building
  • # of housing units:  12 apartments
  • New Households:  12
  • New resident estimate:  35 new residents
  • Residential Parking Spaces:  24 27
  • Parking Spaces / Unit:  2.0 2.25

Even from South Royal Poinciana Boulevard, you can see the new apartments and denser housing scaling up around downtown Miami Springs.  The view below is facing the former Barry’s Cleaners location which itself will be turning into retail with limited parking.

The 29 Palmetto Drive apartments is , it’s a far smaller complex.  There will be 12 apartments, but unlike the downtown development project, this complex actually does have 2.25 parking spaces per unit.  Twenty four seven parking spaces inside the property.  This does not take into account any swale areas or public parking areas.

29 Palmetto Drive 12 Unit Apartment Complex
29 Palmetto Drive 12 Unit Apartment Complex

This project did go through a variance process as the current code required the first floor to be retail. However, in a 3 to 1 vote, the City of Miami Springs City Council voted to override the Variance Board which had rejected the variance in a 5 – 0 vote.  Mayor Maria Mitchell was the only one to vote against approving the variance.

Council Approves 12 Unit Apartment Complex in 3-1 Vote

As you might imagine, there were many neighbors who weren’t crazy about the idea of a 3 story apartment complex next door.  But overall, this project was far less controversial.  It didn’t require a new district to be created.  This project isn’t short on parking.  This project will have actual trees on their property.  Oh, and the property owner will happily maintain those trees.

29 Palmetto Drive 12 Unit Apartment Complex
29 Palmetto Drive 12 Unit Apartment Complex

As you can see in the image above, the first floor has limited interior space to allow for the required parking.  There will be just 2 apartments on the first floor with 5 apartments on the second floor and 5 apartments on the third floor.

Below you can see that the new 29 Palmetto Drive apartment complex is just one building away from the gas station on the Circle.  And it’s across from the now empty SunTrust bank drive through teller area.

29 Palmetto Drive 12 Unit Apartment Complex
29 Palmetto Drive 12 Unit Apartment Complex

Of course, many residents are asking, is this just the beginning of more density coming to Miami Springs?

What do you think of these new apartments adding more density to our neighborhood?

We hope, these apartments will attract a professional class of young folks who want to stay central and live in a family friendly neighborhood and not the people who rent and move in multiple families into a single apartment.  We know this happens with some of our existing apartments and even more so with some of the rental houses in Miami Springs.

641 – 649 Palmetto Drive

  • 3 Story Building
  • # of housing units:  12 apartments
  • New Households:  12
  • New resident estimate:  35 new residents
  • Residential Parking Spaces:  35
  • Parking Spaces / Unit:  2.9

We covered this story right before the pandemic hit in January of 2020.  You can read the full story about this development below:

New Apartments Approved by City

It’s no surprise that the residents immediately next to a 3 story apartment complex are the ones who are most concerned about people overlooking their backyard.  Nobody wants to be relaxing in their own backyard to have people looking down at them from 3 stories high.  You can see their concerns in the video below:

Residents Speak Out Against Palmetto Drive Apartments

It’s no surprise that the residents immediately next to a 3 story apartment complex are the ones who are most concerned about people overlooking their backyard.  Nobody wants to be relaxing in their own backyard to have people looking down at them from 3 stories high.

This complex will have ground floor parking with 6 apartments on the second floor and 6 apartments on the third floor for a total of 12 apartments.  This complex will actually have nearly 3 parking spots per unit with a total of 35 parking spots.

Obviously, no neighbor home owner would want a big apartment next door.  And this property did go through a variance to build larger than what is normally allowed for a lot this size.  But at least it appears these neighbors won’t have to worry about people parking on their property as it appears to have plenty of parking (unlike the downtown development on Canal Street.)

From a “look” standpoint, we love that this has lots of art deco elements.  We like the nautical themed circle windows and the curved balcony.  We like the design elements of the pedestrian entrance.  (You can see that better in the picture below.). Yes.  This isn’t “Pueblo Revival” but I have to give it credit for not looking like another cookie cutter Doral complex.

And I’ll add one more thing.  It’s not another hotel.  For as much fanfare the politicians made of the improvements to our community and the increase in the tax base with minimal costs pitch we all got, it’s clear that was bullshxx.  The hotels have strained our police resources to the point we have to hire more police just for the crime from the hotels.

To be clear, I’m not saying that more residential density doesn’t lead to more crime.  More density does add more crime.  It’s just numbers.  More people.  More crime.  However, I’d rather have long term residents living at these apartments than transient hotel dwellers.

So what’s the total impact from these three new apartment complexes?

We’re getting 63 new apartments downtown…51 apartments at the Canal Street property plus 12 from the 29 Palmetto Drive complex.  In addition, we’re getting 12 new apartments near 36th street.  That’s a total of 75 apartment units.  If we average 2.91 residents per household in Miami Springs, we can estimate we’re adding 218 new residents to the City of Miami Springs as these apartments come online.

To put it into perspective, the 75 new apartment units is 36% more residential units than the 55 homes on Quail Avenue.

THOUGHTS / FEEDBACK?

What do you think of these apartment complexes?  Which has been a better neighbor?  Which would you prefer living in?

Between the three projects, our preference would be to live at the 29 Palmetto apartments.  It’s in an actual residential neighborhood.  It’s away from 36th Street.  And it has 2 parking spaces per unit.  From a look standpoint, I do prefer the project closer to 36th Street.  I’m a sucker for art deco.

As for the downtown development, we’re going to live with that nightmare for a long time.  Traffic and parking is just going to get worse.  And with the exception of Bob Best, all the politicians that approved this fiasco are long gone.  And the City Attorney who created the Gateway District is no longer our City Attorney.

HEADS UP:  MORE APARTMENTS / LESS PARKING

Could more apartments be coming our way?

You betcha.  The property on the east side of Hook Square has a big ol’ for sale sign on it.  And it falls under the higher density Gateway District rules.  Like I said, the Miami Springs we once knew, no longer exists.  Plus, now that a precedent has been set where they can get away with just 1.37 parking spaces per unit, any new developer is going to want the same thing.

But hey, it’s not like we didn’t warn everyone this was coming…(SMH).

And heads up…The parking situation which we know will get worse by the Canal Street project, is going to get even more interesting as they open up the retail shops at the former Barry’s Cleaners location.  Where are all the employees and shoppers going to park?  Behind the homes on the alleyway that splits South Drive and Palmetto Drive?

We warned you that there would be more cut through traffic along interior residential sections of Miami Springs as people avoid the logjam created by the new Circle design.  I find it to be so disrespectful to the residents who live in the arteries when people say, “Oh yeah.  I know how to get around the Circle when the traffic backs up.”  All the people who live in those arteries don’t appreciate the extra traffic in front of their homes caused because of the stupid Circle redesign.  With the additional development and additional traffic that will surround it, the City of Miami Springs will have to look at spending money to redo the Circle…again.

(Which by the way, sorry to go off topic, but for all the pedestrian access bull$x!t we were sold on the Circle project, there’s still no crosswalk to get to the Circle from the Starbucks / Paco’s Way median.  And there’s still no cross walk to get from the gas station to Ray’s Taekwondo.  I mean, if you’re putting apartments up at 29 Palmetto Drive, how are they supposed to safely cross from Palmetto Drive to get to Burritoville?  I’m sorry, but if this isn’t a perfect example of government stupidity, I don’t know what is.  Money wasted for a project that’s been a disaster and has already had numerous low speed accidents and didn’t fully complete its stated goal of better pedestrian access.)

Is there something we missed?  Do you agree / disagree?  Did we miss another problem that you’d like to highlight?  As always, you can let us know what you think in the comments section below or via social media.  If you’d prefer to write a letter to the editor that you would like us to publish, we’d be more than happy to.  Just email it to editor@MiamiSprings.com.

 

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1 COMMENT

  1. As someone who was raised for 20+ years in Miami Springs (1950-1973) and now living in Asheville, NC. , I have a caveat, if not quite a warning. We are doing much the same in Asheville with building more hotels and apartments. Much as we would “hope” the higher density population would bring in stable families and greater
    professional employment, what we are seeing is, on the whole, more transients, panhandlers and criminals. We
    have already surpassed murders for the previous two years as well as other crimes. Miami Springs is and will
    always be my hometown. I love it. My hope is that the powers that be will make good decisions about contractors and keep the good people of Miami Springs happiness above profits. I wish you all the best.

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