Saturday, May 26, 2007

70-Story Skyscraper Planned for Downtown Miami

Tibor Hollo has always commanded our respect. He is a true visionary. But calling the 70-story mixed-use tower he plans to build at 100 S. Biscayne Blvd a "signature building" would only be true if your handwriting was, at best, lacking style and grace and, at its worst, if it were completely illegible. Twisting spires are popping up all over the world, most showing much more finesse than this design. Still, his attempt to build a tall building downtown and have it opened by 2011 is worth a doff of our backward wearing Kangols.

Tibor Hollo

Let's just hope he won't compromise the height for One Bayfront Plaza to please the visionless bureaucrats taking up space at the Miami-Dade Aviation Department. According to a Miami Today article, the projected height of 1,049 feet (with 13 foot floor-to-ceiling heights-- the highest for any building downtown) surpasses the allowed height by 100 feet. In June or July an ordinance comes before the county commission that would allow buildings to be as tall as... 1,000 feet.

Whoop-tee-do. In our opinion, there shouldn't be any height restrictions on any downtown buildings.

In the old days, when Hollo first came to Miami and started building it up, he was a pioneer and gutsy brawler who never had a problem taking on any governmental fool who dared question his buildings. Now, it seems he's way too ready to compromise. As an example, Miami Today shows him acquiescing on more than a number of issues regarding his "bad handwriting building." Aside from parking concessions which Hollo and we don't have a problem with (planners want him to take advantage of a standing offer to all developers to shave off 10% of their proposed parking if their buildings are within 600 feet of a MetroMover station to encourage people not to use their cars. In this case, that means he could nix 256 parking spaces), Hollo made us nervous when he was willing to say good-bye to a pedestrian bridge designed to connect his building to a MetroMover station. Planners believe this will encourage street level pedestrian traffic. And, of course, it will but we think it's one stupid idea. How convenient it would have been to step out of a MetroMover car and walk over Biscayne Blvd without waiting for traffic to stop for you (like Miamian's stop for pedestrians anyway).* What we would have liked to have read is Hollo telling them to "fuck off and kiss my ass. I'm keeping the bridge and I'm building my building as big as I want it to be." But that only happens in the movies and books like "The Fountainhead."

Donna Elizabeth Milo, a member of the city's planning board, is quoted as saying "we want to be a world-class city, and this is a world-class office building."

Not really. It's just a building that's been done before-- and with more grace and class. World class. As far as we're concerned, Miami still hasn't landed that "signature building." But it's at least a step in the right direction.

UpDate (6/21): Miami city commissioners allowed building heights in the urban core to increase from 949' to 1,000' per the aviation departments suggestion.

UpDate (8/15/08): Miami Today reports 60 core borings 185-feet in depth show the land is "strong enough to withstand its 1,049-foot height." The next step is to present the 8,300-page construction plans to the City of Miami's planning department for review and approval. The city has warned Hollo that the review process may take two years. Building is expected to take 3-4 years with completion by 2016. Mr. Hollo is quoted as saying he wants "to leave it (the building) as a legacy to the city."

*We're only kidding. We know Miamians have been known to stop for pedestrians and rarely hit-and-run.

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