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Related UrbanPlanet.org topics: [ South Florida P&C: Villa Magna | ]

Developer wants to triple size of Brickell development

By Susan Stabley

Miami developer Tibor Hollo wants to triple the size of an approved Brickell development using incentives now lifted by the city.

Villa Magna, 1201 Brickell Bay Drive and under development by Mr. Hollo's Florida East Coast Realty, could become one of the neighborhood's largest developments with 1,120 units. Plans once included a hotel, but Mr. Hollo said that component has been dropped.

Original developer Multiplan USA planned 700 units on 5 acres on the site. The property was split, and Edgardo Defortuna's Fortune International Development and Swire Properties Inc. made plans to build the 48-story, 336-unit Jade at Brickell Bay.

About 10 owners of units at Jade at Brickell Bay who bought into the project expecting a 336-unit development next door are opposed to the larger Villa Magna, said their attorney, Tucker Gibbs.

Danny Ponce, general manager of the Brickell Key Masters Association, said traffic from Villa Magna would impact the island home of about 4,000 whose only access is a road crossing Brickell Bay Drive at Eighth Street: "Our biggest concern here is not being able to get off the island."

"Our biggest concern here is not being able to get off the island," Mr. Ponce said.

Mr. Hollo said Tuesday that the site is "worthy" of intense vertical development. "Where do you want density?" Mr. Hollo said. "Do you want density in the Everglades?"

Mr. Hollo said he plans to ask the city to modify the site's major use special permit. The project has support of the Brickell Homeowners Association, which has pushed for high-density bonuses to be lifted in the Brickell area since January 2002.

"We approved it with the conditions passed by the city's planning and zoning department," association president Tory Jacobs said Tuesday.

He said Villa Magna was "grandfathered in" because the application process for the project began before April, when the city approved lifting incentives encouraging higher-density projects in Brickell.

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