Unanimous Denial: Melo Group’s Twin 51-Story Towers Called A ‘Tremendous Mistake,’ Rejected By UDRB

Miami’s Urban Development Review Board didn’t like developer Melo Group’s proposal to build twin 51-story towers in downtown Miami, according to Miami Today.

The board unanimously rejected the proposal last month in a 6-0 vote, with one board member going as far as saying approving the proposed design would be “a tremendous mistake.”

Two towers were each proposed to rise 51 stories, connected by a 12-story garage podium with 1,049 parking spaces (300 spaces are for the church next door). A total of 1,042 apartments was proposed between the two buildings.

Melo Architecture created the design, led by architect Arturo Griego.

Six waivers were requested from zoning requirements, including lot coverage and setback.

Board members criticized the proposed massing, articulation, lack of creativity, and overall appearance of the design.

Melo’s attorney responded that the buildings were being designed as efficiently as possible in order to be made affordable to Miami residents. Previous Melo buildings have been completely leased within two weeks, the attorney said.

The UDRB is technically only an advisory board to Miami’s Planning & Zoning Department. City officials take their recommendation seriously, but planners can still override a board vote should they choose to do so.

 

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Anonymous

Looks like someone didn’t get their bribe check in the mail on time.

Anonymous

or Okan had a bigger check for the board.

Anonymous

The bird is chaired by the architect from Okan – what did everyone expect?

Typical Miami dirty politics.

Okan won’t be built anyway.

Anonymous

Yep
Too beautiful of a building in a horrible location

Anonymous

LMAO! I couldn’t wait to scroll down! I was going to make the EXACT same comment, interesting how we think alike! Melo group kicks ass. Like I have always said. I wish I was a Melo!

Anonymous

Some complain that Miami does not have low-income housing. We have MELO. That should fill the low income housing allowance.
This developer puts up bland towers in 5 mins…. fills them at the base rent. This is the bottom of the Miami landscape.

Anonymous

Yeah, it’s like being a successful Pay Day Loan company. Same argument.
Poor people need what what we have, let’s give it to them quick and take massive fees.

Anonymous

rent now is high as crap in miami hell no

Anonymous

Everyone makes so much fun of the lack of Arquitectonica designs, but this is just one step behind. Glad the Design Review Board is stepping things up!

Renata Acosta

So, let me get this straight…. don’t do affordable rental residences, instead do like Okan, sell at 650 DOLLARS SQF.. Got it.. Thank you very much Mr. Behar, we can tell your meeting was very UNBIASED.

suomynona

I don’t understand what the issue is.

Doesn’t look that different than the majority of downtown residential towers in Miami.

Anonymous

I completely agree with you.

Anonymous

It’ll be next to one of Miami’s most historic buildings, the Central Baptist Church, and soon one of Miami’s most beautiful skyscrapers, Okan Tower.

Anonymous

The Central Baptist Church sold the land to Melo.

Anonymous

Majority?
Are you sure you know what the word majority means?

Join me on a thinking exercise.
Visualize…
Imagine walking over to Biscayne Blv. sidewalk, and take a right….past Ceasar Pelli’s PAC, under 395 with the Grisholm Science Museum, the Herzon & De Mueron PAMM, on your left.
With me?
Lets start from the 1st non-Melo high-rise you see on the right.
1. Marquis
2. 10 Museum
3. 1000 Museum
4. 900 Biscayne
5. Marina Blue
6. Everglades/Viscaya (whatever…maybe Melo beats this one)
7. 50 Biscayne
8. Met
9. One Miami (ehhhh… close)
9. Epic
10. Icon
11. 500 Brickell
12. 1010 Brickell
13. Avenue (1060 &1040 Brickell)
14. Four Seasons
15. Echo

Majority??
Not ONE of THESE buildings is worse than any Melo building.

There may be a few somewhere….but DEFINITELY not a majority in downtown.

Anonymous

And who can afford 70% of those buildings? Melo isn’t building for the wealthy, their product is for the working class.

Garcia T.

the issue is that these will partially block the view of Okan, and Robert Behar who is on the commission and happens to be “OKAN” architect “did not like the design”…..
Corruption to the Max

Anonymous

It’s not any worse than their other projects. Why the sudden ‘courage’ from the board?

Anonymous

Eh, you could say this is a bit worse, 51 story barcodes?

Anonymous

Worse than what, looking at that detention center/jail next door?

Anonymous

It is tied with a detention center/jail.
THINK about it.

Anonymous

Exactly, they had no problems approving there other projects on the other side of 395.

Anonymous

Okan and Miami World Center weren’t having it near their projects.

Anonymous

As if MWC is turning out to be soooooooo marvelous?

Anonymous

Miami World Center is going to need all the customers they can get.

Anonymous

LOL, great reasoning, an ugly building for an ugly building, makes a whole neighborhood of ugly buildings…

Anonymous

A pair of ugly buildings usually seems to look better than a single ugly building of the same design.

Anonymous

I wonder if ugly people will move in there.

Anonymous

You wanna talk about ugly?.. I’ve been looking at this area for over thirty years. It used to be nothing but acres and acres of empty lots. It was appalling to see Metromover stops next to empty lots.

Say what you wanna say about “ugly buildings” but I’ll take them any day over streets of nothing but vacant weed filled lots.

Anonymous

Agreed.
This is the USA property owner should have the rights to build what they want to build on their own property.
Having said that I think they’re terribly ugly.

POLO

They (Melo) needs to start designing better looking towers, and not just plain boxes. Also, I think the Turks had something to do with this, since it will impact their proposed new tower just to the north of this project negatively.

Anonymous

In order to give people “affordable” housing the Melos have to cut corners so that their cost will allow their prices to remain that way. This is a perfect example of people wanting champagne with a beer budget. You want something better than a box dish out more money. If this is all you have this is all you get. And Yes! I do agree with you I am sure the Turks had a hand in this decision they probably don’t want the Middle Class living so close to their elite buyers.

KING KONG

Then, Melo should go to Hialeah and build his boxes.

Anonymous

Who died and made you director of the master plan?

Anonymous

When they finally break ground on this this project they don’t want Melos tower in the background being built already 20 floors high. That will deter potential buyers.

Anonymous

NO, bad design is bad design. Cheap can still look better than this.

Anonymous

Really?? Please provide a link of such beautiful cheap building. Structures are like cars, you get what you pay for. A Corolla is a nice cheap car so is an economical KIA, but they will never have the look of Ferrari or an Aston Martin. Once again you get what you pay for.

Anonymous

Not true I get Hyundai’s and Aston Martin’s mixed up all the time and 300’s and Bentley’s are close enough. It’s usually what’s on the inside that drives the prices up.

Anonymous

Hyundais and Aston Martins?? Seriously?? You sir or madam need and eye exam and glasses ASAP!

Anonymous

MY BRICKELL! cheap but with a design intent

Anonymous

Exactly.

Anonymous

I’m not for this project at all… I think the design is very poor but at least if this was built it would block the views of the federal prison for the “elite buyers” lol

Anonymous

Melo should be able to build what they want and where they want. I hate their junk personally. Thinking back to when I was 25 yrs old….I would rather live in a Melo building next to the Metromover than nearly every building in Edgewater.

Anonymous

Citizen M is muuuuich worse!

Paul

Does anyone think Hong Kong is an unattractive city? Because most of the buildings there are even more utilitarian and than the most austere Melo project. They have even less glass and are typically covered in window-unit ACs. Setbacks are almost nonexistent and sidewalks are narrow even by Miami’s standards. And yet most people consider HK to be one of the most photogenic and pedestrian-friendly cities in the world. I’m not saying we need to give up all of our ideals for the sake of development but these Melo buildings are perfectly fine by me.

Anonymous

I agree and been to Hong Kong and the building type you mention makes up the majority of the city. People in Miami expect every building to built like buildings in Dubai. The general public can’t afford to live in dubai like towers.

Anonymous

First off, HK is a MEGA city and is in NO WAY similar to small town Miami.
Second, Dubai has nasty designed buildings…. I can’t think of one building that has any respect in architecture. That one hotel on the water with the heliport is still a silly cartoon of a building.

Paul

I’ve been to Hong Kong at least 10 times. It’s actually a really small but dense city, not a mega city. And it is very similar to Miami. Has the same weather and plants (bougainvilias, royal poincianas, ficus trees). Aside from the mountains, it reminds me more of Miami than any other city I have visited. I dream of Miami one day being as vibrant and culturally rich as HK.

Anonymous

Me too but it will take a loooong time

Anonymous

I agree but if you are in your 50s you won’t see it, if you are teenager you might.

Anonymous

Not true. New buildings adorning Hong Kong’s skyline are beautiful, with modern design & amazing lighting. The same than the buildings in Shanghai or Singapore. Developers in Miami should understand the legacy that they will left behind with their creations.

Anonymous

Yes, there are some beautiful, interesting, creative towers in HK. But the vast majority are not.

Paul

I’ve been to Shanghai and Hong Kong many times. They are nothing alike. The areas of Shanghai with all of the huge, modern buildings suck for walking; the best places are in the older sections of the city with smaller, European-style buildings. Hong Kong, on the other hand is a pedestrian city throughout and even the parts with really tall buildings are packed with narrow streets and tons of people. Also, culturally they are very different. While SH is more culturally diverse and people are more expressive than other Chinese cities, they are still much more conformist than people in Hong Kong. Also they speak Cantonese in HK and use a different currency, different electrical outlets and walk/drive on the other side of the street. There’s really no similarity other than both having some local Asian population.

Anonymous

…and most of the local guys have tiny pickles.

Anonymous

Maybe so but the women are cute as hell. Love going there!

Anonymous

Those are all older buildings. They aren’t building anything this crappy anymore.

Anonymous

That’s what we will get if they buil these towers.

Paul

No, they are not all older buildings. Even the new buildings in Hong Kong are mostly built this way. I’ve been there at least a dozen times and I was just there 2 weeks ago. As someone who is obsessed with architecture, urban planning and skyscrapers, I pay attention to this sort of thing and can confirm that there are still plenty of new buildings that follow the same vernacular of stuccoed concrete prisms with tiny windows, covered with window AC units.

Anonymous

Thanks for informing me that HK is a butt ugly city. Saved me from a useless and even aggravating trip.

Anonymous

HK is pedestrian friendly because of the connection of pedestrian bridges and tunnels that avoids traffic. The wide sidewalks are not as important there because no one walks in that heat and heavy rains there. I do agree we need some seat fillers to plug in the gaps but not at the expense of the pedestrian realm.

Anonymous

We need some of those moving sidewalks HK has here.

Paul

Hong Kong is pedestrian friendly because it streets are narrow and its buildings have small footprints. Nearby Shenzhen has just as many pedestrian bridges and has whole neighborhoods that can be navigated underground but the distance between neighboring building is too far so it’s best to take a DiDi most of the time.

Anonymous

Agreed. I love Hong Kong.
I love Miami.
Melo building do not suit me, but they ar great for others.

Anonymous

Melo goes in and cleans up blighted dumps like where this tower is planned. They are essentially dropping thousands of new residents into an area that would transform a vital city block (the area between Biscayne and the Brightline train station).

I can only imagine the sudden urgency from UDRB for Melo to provide better architecture has something to do with the Okan project planned on the same block. Two 51 story towers taking up most of the views facing South from the Okan project are going to put a dent into their pricing structure I can imagine.

Anonymous

Perhaps the Review Board just wants more setback and fewer waivers. The twin tower design is played out.

“Board members criticized the proposed massing, articulation, lack of creativity, and overall appearance of the design”

Come back with a better design.

Anonymous

But this same UDRB has no problem with that ugly and cartoonish designed Skyrise tower?

Anonymous

I said this a few months ago on TNM and everyone came after me. Okan is a total bully

Anon

Melo’s attorney responded that the buildings were being designed as efficiently as possible in order to be made affordable to Miami residents.

This statement can and should be read as “we build them as cheap and shoddy as possible to maximize profit.”

Anonymous

Well said!

Anonymous

Yeah, “Fuck with Melo.” Meanwhile, we see pedestrian bridges over streets collapsing and flatting cars and killing people.

Anonymous

No wonder Melo hasn’t started this project yet they the review board has been sitting on it. And suddenly they want to deny a Melo project. Yes its not a beauty but it is needed infill with over a thousand units.

Anonymous

Meanwhile, the land where the Miami Arena used to be has been sitting there empty and vacant for at least what, ten years or more?

Politicians in this city doesn’t know their asses from their elbows.

Anonymous

Hmmm. Yes. Let’s infill all the “ugly” empty lots with nasty MELO buildings…. and sure, in 10 years we will now be living in MELO-ville. Really!? That is a better future?
I would prefer empty lots.

Anonymous

See if your preference for “empty lots” over Melo’s buildings gets the cameras rolling. Ever wonder why someplace like New Orleans get more movie exposure than Miami? Most people who come to visit flock to Miami Beach because face it, Mainland Miami has been lagging behind Miami Beach for a very long time and the city has sucked for quite a while.

You keep waiting for pretty shit to be built on these empty lots… meanwhile I’ll thank Melo for at least trying to take areas that’s seen nothing but blight for a long time and transforming them.

Anonymous

Excellent comment. Are you a millennial?…nah, cant be.

Anonymous

Nope, not a millennial, just someone who was born and raised in Miami over fifty five years ago.

Anonymous

It wouldn’t look much different than most of NYC and nobody there seems to give a shit. There are some stand-outs in between a lot of crap. That’s the way it will be here too.

Anonymous

Yes.. I’m so tired of people thinking every new building should look pretty.

Damn nincompoops….

Anonymous

😂🤣😂🤣 This has to be one of the best posts on TNM!!

Anonymous

“Unanimous Denial!” Looool

Anonymous

They should come back with a design that is 80 stories to block the rest of Okan’s project 😂

Anonymous

What I can’t understand is, why don’t OKAN just buy Melo out?

Anonymous

Something smells fishy here. Why the sudden change in opinion of the Commission? It looks very similar to what they’ve been doing all along.

Anonymous

Free trips to Istanbul?

Anonymous

*Constantinople*

Anonymous

I’m no fan of the present City Commission or its various building departments, but at least they seem to be taking a closer look at the crap they’ve been approving. I hope the scrutiny gets even more in depth. Miami will be better off in the end with more outstanding architecture filling up those vacant lots.

Anonymous

You’re delusional.

Leave Melo alone.

Anonymous

The Turks behind Okan might of played a role in this and didn’t want something that tall blocking their condo views they’re currently trying to sell. Because Melo has four buildings like this in the Omni area and the review board didn’t deny them.

Anonymous

“in the Omni area”

Anonymous

The architect of Okan is the Chair of the Board. You think?

Anonymous

You’d think Mr. Behar would have recused himself from that vote considering his firm’s Okan building is currently on life support and will be called dead once Downtown 5th starts.

Anonymous

The developer wants to get max profitability of the land and the City said hold on your horses boy …….

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I mean, it’s a very ‘meh’ building but does everything have to be a masterpiece? If it’s for affordable housing I’m all for it.

Anonymous

Right!.. these whiners who criticize the way Melo buildings look talk as if their girlfriend or boyfriend, husband or wife, are straight TENS!!!

Anonymous

Not affordable but attainable with a really good job or the right roommate of course.

Anonymous

Wow, the UDRB is actually doing its job for once rejecting this giant barcode window prison!

Anonymous

Yeah, but they approved the moronic wheel by the bay.

Anonymous

Yep.. I thought there was a dire need for more housing.. I guess what the city really need is a Ferris Wheel.

Anonymous

…carnival ride….

Anonymous

ICONIC! get it right will ya?

Anonymous

yeah, a real game changer.

Anonymous

It’s a nice project, I don’t see why they were rejected. The only thing I see going wrong with this project is the amount of parking spaces. I would have done half and let the market dictate. In other words, create density and encourage walk-ability.

Anonymous

Can that “walk-ability” shit… this is Miami and it’s hot as hell here!!!

Anonymous

They’re in their 20s man. They cant afford a car yet. Thus all the bullshit about bike lanes and wide sidewalks for their skateboards.

BigCityLover

Tell that to the poor soul I drove by in the out-of-the-blue torrential downpour yesterday in a shirt+tie & messenger-style computer bag trying to shield his face & glasses to see where he was riding & attempting to not drown in a 8″-deep puddle… at 90-deg. Miami will *never* be “walkable”, it’s a pipe-dream! Plus, are ALL OFFICES downtown in the CBD? I think people work all over this no-mass-transit city! My 45-min drive to work takes 3h:10m on MDT! Not a walkable option!

Anonymous

So because you made the decision to live somewhere that you’re car dependent, nobody else can possibly live a car-free life? Sure, lots of jobs aren’t in the CBD, but lots are. I live in Brickell, walk to my office at BCC, and take scooters or Metro Mover to all the work-related traveling I need to do which is all in the CBD or Wynwood. Don’t have a car and sure as hell don’t want one. But apparently I’m a myth…

Anonymous

What a sad existence, never leaving CBD and Wynwood.

Anonymous

Where were these dedicated civil servants when the first Melo towers were approved? Talk about lack of creativity……..
I agree. Sounds like a lot of Turkish lira went into Miami bank accounts for this vote.

Anonymous

Maybe change the tops — more peaky

Anonymous

Well I approve it

Anonymous

Horrible design…similar to the ones already built…boxes and more boxes…

Anonymous

That is Downtown Miami, the majority of the buildings are boxes 📦.

Anonymous

And now we will have a cheap ass ferris wheel. Amazingly how this wheel was not classified as a “mistake”.

Anonymous

Look, it’s an “ICONIC” Ferris Wheel.”

Anonymous

The Developer should honestly try to make something nicer. This will last for centuries… If they like Miami, they should make something nice for future generations to look and enjoy. They can do something better.

Anonymous

“Centuries?”

Hell, Miami is not even centuries old. This is an apartment building, not the Taj Mahal.

Anonymous

The board must have wanted two 51 story parking garages

Anonymous

finally!!! something that makes sense, enough of this ugly, blah looking buildings!!!

Aria

I’m so happy to read this. Melo has built poor design and cheap finish buildings with a lot internal and structural deficiencies. Water pipes, A/C etc etc . All those horrible boxes do not contribute the Miami skyline. Ban melo for all future projects

Anonymous

Free Market?? they own the land they should be able to build.

Anonymous

Most of these people complain about the communist system they fled from but want the city of Miami’s government to perform like a communist system.

Anonymous

Pliz esplein.

Anonymous

Balsero arrepentio!

Anonymous

Oh looky, another hispanic who would rather flee than fight.

Castro is one of my heroes.

Anonymous

Now you’re just being stupid.

Anonymous

Stupid? Castro was a fighter not a runner… dummy!

Anonymous

Finally

Anonymous

Time for a new architect for Melo.. these low-budget designs won’t fly in downtown area.

Anonymous

You gotta admit this through, their designs are still way better than Aquitectonica.

Anonymous

Should have just bought one of Kobi Krap’s scrapped designs out of his waste paper basket. 😉

Anonymous

Well those would be better than this.

Anonymous

Yes — 2 eye sores

Anonymous

What the hell does massing mean?

Anonymous

Chunky. They want you to stack the boxes in a more airy way. Think step backs and curves

Anonymous

The people who said it really don’t know what it means, they reside in the suburbs.

Anonymous

5/4 with a pool baby. Oh, and yeah, a 2 car garage, and my kids’ cars in the driveway. Ahhhhh… heaven.