Fifth and Alton, a 180,000 square foot vertical retail shopping center, which includes a 1,081-space municipally operated parking garage, was developed in an urban infill location on a 2.7 acre site, covering an entire city block at the entrance to Miami Beach, Fla.

The $54.9 million project represents a new, urban prototype which addresses the specific needs of large-value retail tenants who have previously been limited to an ever expanding suburban landscape, while simultaneously integrating these uses into the higher residential and commercial densities of our inner city cores. This allows for higher efficiencies of land use, interaction of public and private transportation modes and previously nonexistent pedestrian, bicycle and scooter access to these value retailers. The center is now occupied by Publix, Best Buy, T.J. Maxx, Ross Dress for Less, Staples, Vitamin Shoppe and Petco.

The development team was confronted with the challenge of designing a Gateway project adjacent to the historic Art Deco District, which respected both the sensitivities of the preservationist community and the operational and delivery requirements of big-box retailers. The contaminated, 2.7 acre tract was bisected by a publicly dedicated alley, and was restricted by height and FAR restrictions which would have required a referendum to vary.

The design goals included coming up with a scheme suitable for the Gateway to Miami Beach, a way to internalize all delivery truck service and receiving areas, a desire to provide transparency to the structure and to avoid the massive blank wall traditionally associated with big-box retailers, a preference to engage pedestrians and a requirement to avoid further congesting traffic. In addition, the property needed to integrate a historic 1920s pharmacy building, which city planners wanted to be preserved and integrated into the design of the project

The project opened at 93 percent occupancy, with all of the retailers reporting excellent holiday sales. The project generated significant cash flow in 2009, commencing as soon as tenants opened. Three additional leases are under negotiation.

Project Name: 5th & Alton
Location: Miami Beach, Fla
Square Footage: 180,000
Shell Architect:Robin Bosco Architects & Planners Inc.
Developer/Owner: Berkowitz Development Group

Credits
General Contractor: Suffolk Construction
Shell Contractor: Mc Velar Construction
City of Miami Beach City Manager: Jorge Gonzalez
Electrical Contractor: C. Davis Electric
Surveying, Land Planning, & Civil Engineering: Schwebke-Shiskin & Associates Inc.
General Counsel: Bilzin, Sumberg, Baena, Price & Axelrod (Arnold Brown)
Millwork Contractor: Faubion Associates
Land Use/Environmental Counsel: Pathman Lewis LLP