If attorney-turned-developer Andy Hellinger acquires the necessary government apporovals, the Mahi Shrine Auditorium on the Miami River would become home to a six-story retail center, hundreds of condos and a promenade on the north bank.
Hellinger has applied for city approval to build the proposed River Landing southwest of the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building. The $150 million, 10-acre project would replace the auditorium at 1500 N.W. North River Drive.
Construction could start in early 2014 and be completed in late 2015. River Landing also would include two 12-story towers with 444 units to be completed in 2016. The mixed-use development features restaurants and shops opening to a landscaped space along a future river walk.
"It will help activate the river, just like the High Line in New York," Hellinger said, referring to a one-mile linear park built on a section of the former elevated New York Central Railroad on the lower west side of Manhattan.
The project is being reviewed by Miami planners, and the Miami River Commission, a Miami River watchdog group, is seeking comments.
Hellinger's Coral Gables-based River Landing Development LLC has had the parcel under contract since late 2011. He declined to disclose the purchase price, but the Mahi Shrine Auditorium was on the market with a price tag of $32 million in 2011.
To keep the contract alive, his company is paying toward the "purchase price every month," he said, adding his company has the right to walk away if it doesn't obtain city approval.
River Landing is being designed by Miami-based ADD Inc., in collaboration with David Bromstad, host of HGTV's Color Splash and Design Star.
The buildings would rise at the southern edge of the Health District, home to Jackson Memorial Hospital, the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, Miami Dade College Medical Campus and the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, the courthouse and the jail. The public and medical buildings employ more than 30,000 people, and the area is visited yearly by about 160,000 patients and thousands of students. The site also is within walking distance of the Miami Marlins baseball stadium across the river.
The retail center would have about 500,000 square feet, said broker Roger LeBlanc, who is handling the leasing.