The Golden Sands – 6901 Collins AveAugust 28, 2013
Built in 1951 and designed by Norman M. Giller , the Golden Sands was originally called the Bombay Hotel, and was the first hotel designed with it’s own parking garage. It was purchased in 2005 by WSG Development for $19M to be added to the Canyon Ranch community. However, the real estate market stalled while the project was still in the development process, and the property has sat dormant for several years. Now owned by Lehman Brothers, an announcement earlier this month that they would be placing this for sale along with their remaining interests in Canyon Ranch was music to our ears. Surely, this prime oceanfront lot will be snapped up for re-development, either as a stand alone project or as part of Canyon Ranch. The days as an empty building of a by gone era are numbered.
With practically all of the remaining inventory sold at Canyon Ranch, and with the flurry of new construction evident along Collins Av from South Beach to Sunny Isles, this is a perfect time for Lehman Brothers to complete their exit strategy. With the ability to purchase the common areas of Canyon Ranch, the future owner of the Golden Sands can market the project to include the use of the wonderful amenities and services exclusively offered to Canyon Ranch, or leave the Golden Sands as a stand alone project that is ultra exclusive like the Bath Club Estates proposed a few blocks south. The question now is what will the city approve on the current site of the Golden Sands?
Back in 2004, the owner went through a rather extensive design review process before obtaining the final approval in 2005. The original structure would be redesigned with an 18 story tower rising east towards the beach. There would be a total of 40 units, mostly 3 residences per floor, with only 1 residence on the PH level and 2 units on the lower PH, each 2 stories. At the time, the parking requirement would allow 60 spaces total.
Since then, the city code has changed with regards to historic oceanfront buildings. The current guidelines may allow only the addition of a roof top deck to the existing structure or adding more floors, up to 5 stories. However, state law may still provide the owner with development rights, so long as current requirements and approvals are sought. Considering it’s location and the last approval, there’s a very good chance that the previous plans will be honored. But given the other code requirements like parking, the number of condominium units may need to be reduced to 30, which could increase the average unit size at the Golden Sands from 1450 to 2450 square feet.
Another approach would be to develop a new hotel, which would be great for the local neighborhood, providing jobs, entertainment and tourism to North Beach. Since the parking requirement is more lenient for hotels, there could be as many as 120 rooms built within the design approved earlier. There is so much potential for further development in North Beach, and revitalizing the plan for the Golden Sands can bring much deserved attention to the area, and it’s Town Center plan.
For now, whether it’s a new condominium or hotel, as a stand alone project or as part of Canyon Ranch, it looks like better days are coming for the Golden Sands.