The city of Doral reached a compromise with the developer of a major mixed-use project that plans to take advantage of the state’s landmark affordable housing legislation that passed earlier this year.
The Doral City Council voted 4:1 last week to approve a settlement agreement with affiliates of the Apollo Companies tied to their plan to develop Oasis at Doral. Apollo proposed buildings of up to 12 stories tall, but lowered that to eight stories.
Oasis at Doral calls for several hundred units, retail space that would include food and beverage outlets, and two existing office buildings at the center of the nearly 18-acre property at 4090 Northwest 97th Avenue.
Aventura-based Apollo, led by CEO Edward Abbo, is proposing seven buildings with four that are eight stories tall. Arquitectonica is designing the project, according to a site plan. Apollo submitted its plans to the city in June, before the law went into effect and before the city passed a moratorium on new construction for related projects.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Live Local Act into law in late March, and it went into effect July 1. The law supersedes local governments’ zoning, density and height requirements for projects meeting specific affordable or workforce housing requirements, a controversial measure that some municipalities have opposed. Doral is among them.
In September, Doral passed a six-month moratorium on all new project proposals that fall under the Live Local Act to give the city time to analyze the legislation. The city council had issues with the developer’s plan in terms of building heights, setbacks and density. Neighbors, including those living in the Costa Del Sol golf community immediately south, were also concerned with the developer’s initial proposal.
The settlement agreement allows the developer to move forward with its plans as the moratorium continues through the end of March.
Doral City Attorney Valerie Vicente sent a memo to the council, saying that the developer “will continue to sustain significant damages” if the city continued to apply the moratorium to Apollo’s application. The developer said at last week’s meeting that it was costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to amend the plans they submitted earlier this year.
To take advantage of the state’s new law, 40 percent of the multifamily units would be set aside for workforce or affordable housing. The property, home to the Doral Costa office park, last traded for $73.8 million in 2016. TA Associates Realty sold it to a company tied to Triarch Capital Group. It’s unclear if Triarch is partnering with Apollo or if it plans to sell the property to Apollo. Both firms did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Apollo’s website states that the project would include 630 multifamily apartments.
During the recent meeting, Doral Mayor Christi Fraga commended the developer for compromising with the city. Fraga expressed concerns about the legislation, which also outlines ad valorem tax exemptions for portions of properties that provide affordable housing.
Fraga, councilman Rafael Pineyro and councilwomen Maureen Porras and Digna Cabral voted in favor of the settlement agreement. Councilman Puig-Corve was the sole ‘no’ vote.
“This is the middle ground,” Fraga said. “We may not be happy with it, but unfortunately it is the card we were dealt.”