Celal Ozkan and a rendering of Skygarden tower (Linkedin, Permuy Architecture)

Proposed North Miami Beach mixed-use, multifamily high-rise development advances

Image: Celal Ozkan and a rendering of Skygarden tower (Linkedin, Permuy Architecture)

By Erik Bojnansky

Plans for a 19-story mixed-use, multifamily high-rise in North Miami Beach are moving forward.

The North Miami Beach Planning & Zoning Board on Monday night approved the project at Northeast 163rd Street and 19th Avenue. The variances and site plan for the 224-foot-tall Skygarden tower still need to be approved by the North Miami Beach City Commission.

Nevertheless, Turkish developer Celal Ozkan, chairman of Istanbul-based CEO Contract, said he’s aiming to break ground in September. “I feel like this is my city, not only for this project, but you will see other projects coming on,” Ozkan told the board in a Zoom call from Istanbul.

An affiliate co-owned by Ozkan paid $5.2 million for the 37,500-square-foot lot at 16300 Northeast 19th Avenue in November. The seller, Afin Developer Group’s Alejandro Araujo, previously had planned to build a seven-story, 129-room hotel on the site.

Those plans have been scrapped. Instead, Ozkan will construct a 341-unit multifamily building, with 12,635 square feet of retail and 405 parking spaces, designed by Coral Gables-based Permuy Architecture. Skygarden will also feature garden terraces on the 6th, 9th, and 15th floors, as well as a rooftop garden and pool.

Matt Amster, Ozkan’s land use attorney, said Skygarden will help spark more development within the city’s Fulford mixed-use district. “We are hoping this will be a catalyst to bring in new life into this area of the city,” Amster said.

During the discussion, zoning board member Robert Dempster questioned granting a unit size variance for the project. Undercity code, the average size of a future residential unit built within the Fulford mixed-use district must be 800 square feet. However, the average size for a Skygarden apartment will be 733 square feet, and that includes balcony space.

Although the developers of Lazur were able to get around the 800-square-foot-apartment average requirement, Dempster thought it was a bad precedent. “If we start going down that road…. Who is to say that the next project won’t build much smaller, and so on, and so forth?” Dempster asked.

Amster insisted that the 124 one-bedroom and 217 two-bedroom units will far exceed the 550-square-foot minimum requirement for individual apartments. Skygarden’s apartments will range from 593 square feet to 991 square feet, he said.

Andrew Dolkart, president of Miami Economic Associates, a consultant for the developer, stated in a report to the city that Skygarden’s apartments will collect monthly rents ranging from $2,100 to $2,750.

In recent months, the eastern part of North Miami Beach has attracted the attention of developers. In November, Dezer Development persuaded the North Miami Beach City Commission to approve its plans to replace Intracoastal Mall with a $1.5 billion mixed-use project called Uptown Harbour. That project, however, is now mired in litigation after neighboring Eastern Shores residents sued to overturn the city’s decision.

In December, the Estate Companies paid $13.1 million for a 1.8-acre site at 16395 Biscayne Boulevard that already has the development rights for a 23-story apartment building.

The faded Fulford sector has also seen some activity. Last year, Bizzi & Partners received approval from the city commission to build a 33-story mixed-use building with 456 residential units at 2151 Northeast 163rd Street.