Designs for the Element Tower are not Universally Applauded

By: Andres Leiser

Some Miami area citizens are less than pleased with the planning, zoning and architectural details of the Related Group's newly proposed luxury piece of real estate that is the Element tower. It has been pointed out that this is the kind of thing the Miami 21 'New Urbanist' zoning code was meant to prevent.

This luxury real estate project falls short on multiple levels. 31st street really should not be closed. It is specifically stated in Miami 21 that blocks should prioritize connectivity and not exceed an average perimeter length of 1,320 feet (3.8.2b), also "Thoroughfares that provide View Corridors shall not be vacated" (3.4.3c). If there were compliance with these two Miami real estate rules, the project would be broken down into two separate podiums instead of one larger podium. This would preserve the view corridor and the existing urban Miami character of the area. A solution would be for the two separate buildings to be linked by a bridge over the road so that the two buildings could share amenities. The way it is designed with the one large podium design, it completely overwhelms the existing urban scale, weakens the neighborhood connectivity, and destroys the view and access to the bay for residents and the public.

Another nuance with this luxury real estate project is that the large garage podium is unscreened and unlined on all sides except the one on the bay side, that has a few townhouses. Walking down the streets along 100'+ long garage facades would be unappealing. It would promote a dead area and not contribute to the social life of the street. If we consult Miami 21 again, it states that that the ground floor along ALL frontages SHALL contain habitable spaces (5.6.2l) and that at the first story facades along a frontage line SHALL have frequent doors and windows at a max spacing of 75' (5.6.1f). After breaking the one large podium real estate into 2 separate podiums they should have lined all of the east-west streets with townhomes and the bay facing street with either townhomes or retail spaces. The problem with these suggestions is that the amount of parking would be reduced. These proposals for the luxury real estate tower would obviously reduce the amount of parking. This could be remedied by adding one or two stories to the 3 story tall garage.

Aesthetically, the balcony bubbles on the side of the luxury Miami tower are slightly childish and immature. You would have thought that you could have found the real estate designers of this luxury Miami tower at of of the local elementary schools. One last thing, the blank stucco walls that result from the single loaded corridors of the luxury building they could have been replaced with a backwards C shape for the tower. This would have had the effect of reducing the length and impact of the single loaded corridor on the neighborhood and still given all the units views to the water. Also, it would have given views of the city to the south and the north of the piece of real estate which could easily command similar prices as the bay facing luxury units.

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Andres Leiser is a local contributor for Constec Realty's Miami luxury real estate website. Andres Leiser has been involved in Miami real estate for over a decade. For more information please visit

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