Real Estate

Unmasking Developers of South Florida’s Largest 3,233-Unit Live Local Act Project

Developers propose South Florida's largest Live Local Act project with 3,233 units in Miami-Dade's West Little River.

By Doug Elli

7/11, 09:49 EDT

Key Takeaway

  • Developers Pablo Castro and Laura Tauber propose South Florida's largest Live Local Act project with 3,233 units in Miami-Dade's West Little River.
  • The project includes six towers (26 to 37 stories) and two nine-story garages, with at least 40% of units designated as affordable housing.
  • Despite the project's scale, Castro and Tauber have maintained a low profile, contrasting with typical developer self-promotion.

A Monumental Development in Miami-Dade

In a significant move for South Florida's real estate landscape, developers Pablo Castro and Laura Tauber have proposed a massive 3,233-unit apartment complex in Miami-Dade County’s West Little River neighborhood. This ambitious project, which includes six towers ranging from 26 to 37 stories, is being developed under the Live Local Act. This state law, recently amended to be more developer-friendly, allows for larger projects in exchange for designating at least 40 percent of the units as affordable housing. This proposal stands out as the largest Live Local Act project in South Florida and the biggest in the tri-county region in recent memory.

The Scope and Scale of the Project

The proposed development, known as Holland Park, will feature a mix of residential units and amenities designed to create a "campus-like" atmosphere. The project includes two nine-story garages to alleviate the high costs associated with parking podiums, a common challenge in high-rise developments. The estimated cost and timeline for the project have not been disclosed, but the developers have already invested $29.3 million in acquiring the 11.8-acre site. This investment was made in cash, indicating a strong financial backing for the project.

South Florida's Real Estate Dynamics

The South Florida real estate market has seen a surge in large-scale mixed-use projects, many of which are leveraging the incentives provided by the Live Local Act. For instance, Redwood Dev Co has proposed a 2,193-unit development in North Miami, and RK Centers has submitted plans for a 1,050-unit complex in Miami’s Coral Gate neighborhood. These projects highlight a broader trend of developers capitalizing on state laws to build larger, more ambitious projects. However, elevated interest rates, high construction costs, and skyrocketing insurance premiums pose significant challenges.

The Developers Behind the Scenes

Pablo Castro and Laura Tauber have chosen to remain largely out of the public eye, a stark contrast to the self-promotion often seen in South Florida real estate. Castro, originally from Spain, has a history of large-scale developments in Europe, primarily in Barcelona. He has a reputation for leveraging market distress to acquire properties at significant discounts. Tauber, on the other hand, has been involved in South Florida real estate since the late 1990s, co-founding Taubco with her husband. Taubco is known for developing and investing in shopping plazas and other commercial properties.

Challenges and Opportunities

While the Live Local Act offers significant incentives, it also comes with challenges. Elevated interest rates and high construction costs make it difficult for smaller developers to pursue such large-scale projects. However, Castro and Tauber have mitigated some of these challenges by planning separate garages instead of expensive parking podiums. This strategic move could serve as a model for other developers looking to capitalize on the Live Local Act while managing costs effectively.

Street Views

  • Matthew Scott, land use and zoning attorney (Neutral on the Live Local Act project):

    "When was the last time you have seen this many units built in one project? There are very few groups locally or nationally or internationally that have built a project this size."

  • Rachel Streitfeld, zoning attorney (Cautiously Optimistic on Live Local Act projects):

    "As far as smaller developers who don’t have the resources or the access to financing, it makes it hard for them to pencil out a Live Local project."

Management Quotes

  • Anthony De Yurre, Attorney for Holland Park:

    "[The Holland Park] project would offer significant open space and amenities beyond anything comparable... [It has a] campus-like atmosphere."