Developer Wins Approval for Micro-Units in Miami Beach

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In a bid to make affordable housing more available, Miami Beach officials adjusted development regulations to allow tiny apartments to be built on Washington Avenue. 

City commissioners voted 6-1 Wednesday to give final approval to an ordinance that allows for coliving units on the east and west side of North Washington Avenue between 15th and 16th streets. Developers must vow that at least 20 percent of the apartments would be priced as workforce housing, and that the projects won’t be used as hotels. 

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The move came in response to a request by Rishi Kapoor, head of Coral Gables-based Location Ventures. Kapoor has a contract to buy the properties at 1509 and 1515 Washington Avenue. His plan for the properties calls for 48 tiny apartments of 275 square feet apiece, 24 apartments of 448 square feet each, and 46 co-living apartments. 

As part of their approval, commissioners imposed a minimum lease term of six months and a day, twice as long as the three-month leases Kapoor had sought. 

Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez cast the lone dissenting vote. She bashed the tiny apartments as “little jail cells” and “party units” – “because that is really what you can do in these units.”

“I don’t believe that people want to live in 250 square feet,” Rosen Gonzalez said. “I think it is inhumane living quarters.”

The ordinance gives Kapoor three years to apply for a building permit. 

In a separate bout of news about Location Ventures, a legal battle between company executives has revealed that Miami Mayor Francis Suarez was a paid consultant for the development firm.

Greg Brooks, formerly the CFO of Location Ventures, sued Kapoor, his boss, in Miami-Dade Circuit Court earlier this month, alleging a long list of misdeeds by Kapoor, including that he withheld $80,000 in bonuses, misrepresented facts to lenders and bought himself a McLaren sports car with company money, among other actions.

Among Brooks’s accusations was that Suarez was paid $10,000 a month to consult for Location Ventures, a side gig that was previously undisclosed.

Jeff Ostrowski can be reached at jostrowski@commercialobserver.com.