South Miami Officials Vote Down Plans to Revamp Flagging Mall
By a vote of 3-2, the South Miami city commission rejected plans to redevelop the failing Shops at Sunset Place, a project that was seen as vital to reviving South Miami’s downtown, per The Miami Herald.
If approved, the measure would have granted special zoning rules that would have paved the way for redeveloping the portion of the open-air mall that sits along U.S. 1. Developers Federal Realty Investment Trust, which bought the mall in 2015 for $110 million, said the mall’s current design turns it inwards like a fortress and had planned to open it up to the downtown area to create more of a gathering space.
Plans called for replacing a portion of the mall with an 18-story hotel and a separate apartment building located within a green promenade and public town square. The plan would also have added a tree canopy, wider sidewalks, and would have altered the appearance of the remaining portion of the mall by making it look more contemporary.
Developers needed a unanimous vote in favor of the zoning changes to proceed. Even if the commission had approved the measure by a split vote, it would have been subject to further review. The commissioners who voted against the zoning changes said they would open the door to runaway development and increase traffic.