North Miami Beach officials are hoping for a surge in development after updating the city’s zoning code in key areas to allow for greater density. The city of 43,250 is just south of high-end Aventura and across the water from the booming condos on Sunny Isles Beach, but it’s mostly been overlooked for major new developments.

Mayor George Vallejo said its zoning code was decades out of date and it fell behind the progress of neighboring cities. The recently approved code allows buildings of up to 30 stories in the new central district along Northeast 163rd Street between
Dixie Highway and Biscayne Boulevard, he said. Heading away from the new city center, buildings of eight to 15 stories are allowed on some parcels on those roads, and also on Northeast 164th Street.

Vallejo compares it to Midtown Miami.

“Rather than just have a building, you would have retail on the bottom with parking inside and active street uses to encourage walkability and live/work,” he said. “Those are the kind of housing choices consumers want today.”

Vallejo said the city is offering incentives for developers – such as a 75 percent tax rebate over at least 15 years for new buildings and partially funding infrastructure – through its community redevelopment agency.

The new zoning code will encourage redevelopment in North Miami Beach after years when the city’s major streets have been overlooked, said Alan S. Macken, founder of development firm Macken Cos., who grew up in the city and has offices there. He owns several properties on Dixie Highway, and he’s considering going vertical with them for mixed uses.

“North Miami Beach has a great opportunity to enhance the lifestyle of Aventura and Sunny Isles Beach because it has more streetscapes,” Macken said. “It will be different because we have wider, more diversified uses. It has the ocean and the Intracoastal and a mall.”

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