Tech Entrepreneur Plans Elementary School Expansion in Miami Beach

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A private elementary school in Miami Beach is looking to expand along Washington Ave.

John D. Marshall, founder of the mobile security company AirWatch, is seeking approval to build a four-story building to house upper elementary and middle school grades of the Basecamp 305 school, according to filings made to the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board. 

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The investor, who sold AirWatch for $1.17 billion in 2014, founded the private institution so his children could go to school close to where they live, according to the filing. Basecamp’s outpost for pre-kindergarten through the third grade opened last year at 224 2nd Street

The upper elementary and middle school building, designed by Arquitectonica, would rise a block north at 251 Washington Avenue. Marshall purchased the 13,000-square-foot plot in 2019, paying $6.1 million. Shortly thereafter, he demolished the existing structure. 

In the filings, Marshall is seeking six variances. These include a request to reduce a required setback from 13 feet to two feet to “to allow for life safety equipment and a generator to be located on the first floor;” eliminate a different setback and allow signage within one foot of the property.

The upper elementary expansion is scheduled to open for the school year beginning fall 2024, according to Basecamp’s website, though it’s unclear when construction of the building would commence, according Basecamp’s lawyer, Michael Larkin, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.  

The Historic Preservation Board will hear the bid March 14.

Private schools are opening up locations in South Florida to meet the demand from wealthy northerners who relocated to the region during the pandemic, including Avenues The World School, an institution with locations in New York and Brazil. The elite for-profit institution is developing a 700,000-square-foot campus in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood. 

Julia Echikson can be reached at jechikson@commercialobserver.com