Miami city commissioners are still going ahead with a controversial construction project that would offer visitors from around the world who enter the Vizcaya musem a view of condos rising above its manicured tree-lined surroundings.
A proposed 300-unit luxury condo complex on nearby Mercy Hospital is steadily moving ahead but resistance is beginning to mount.
Vizcaya was the winter palace of American industrialist James Deering from Christmas 1916 until his death in 1925. The home\’s design was to duplicate that of an 17th century Italian estate. It has thirty-four decorated rooms with antiques furnishings dating from the 15th through 19th centuries. It has expansive majestic gardens that are a mixture of Renaissance Italian and French designs.
Boca Raton-based Ocean Land Investments is partnering with developer Jorge Perez\’s Related Group to build the nearby condos on 6.7 acres of prime waterfront land that has been part of the Mercy Hospital medical campus.
Related Group executive Bill Thompson counters that the project has been downsized to appease the community — from 1,000 units to 300. Two of the three towers have been reduced in height, with only one still the original 410 feet. Thompson says Vizcaya won\’t suffer at the hands of his project, and calls the museum\’s architectural drawing – against the project – grossly inaccurate.
\’\’Vizcaya is in an urban area,\’\’ Thompson said, like New York\’s Central Park. The fact that part of a high-rise would be visible from a dip in Vizcaya\’s tree line wouldn\’t ruin the experience, he said.
As a neighborly gesture, the company promises to add trees to the museum land that would screen some — but not all — of its project, known as 300 Grove Bay Residences.
North of Vizcaya, Thompson notes, are the towers of Brickell — modern buildings, visible from a portion of the museum site, that haven\’t kept visitors from coming.
Condo opponents call the Brickell comparison irrelevant, saying those towers are farther away. What\’s at stake now, they say, is one of Vizcaya\’s signature views — that overlooking its famed gardens.
The City Commission voted 3-2 in January to tentatively approve a key rezoning sought by the developers.
A final commission vote on the rezoning is scheduled for later this month, although additional city approvals are necessary before breaking ground.