The Miami River Commission has approved construction of a six-storey marine facility and adjacent restaurant along the Miami River proposed by Puntallana LLC, but local residents are vowing to fight the decision until concession are received from the developer.

Steven Wernick, Puntallana LLC’s attorney, told The Real Deal that the developer intends to replace an existing one-storey warehouse with a six-storey, custom-made commercial building for Turkey-based Numarine. The company plans to move from its corporate sales office in Doral, Florida, when the building is completed. The ground floor will be a yacht sales centre, while the upper floors will have sales and office space. The development may also have a mechanics shop, he added, as well as four dock slips for yachts.

A two-storey warehouse next door will be converted into a restaurant that will include a “family-friendly rooftop observation deck”. Boats will not be allowed to dock at the restaurant, nor has a restaurant tenant been determined.

There won’t be on-site parking. Instead, Puntallana manager Arturo Ortega said the group plans to use two properties 1,000ft away as off-site valet parking.

But Carlos Salas, president of the Spring Garden Civic Association, said his group will appeal the decision to the Miami Planning Zoning and Appeals Board for a public hearing.

While Ortega offered to create a public “riverfront courtyard” by the restaurant, enhance an existing walkway near the property, and “explore a functional alternative walkway adjacent to the river, with public access, Salas said the developer should design a project with a public riverwalk and onsite parking. Neighbours are also worried about the proliferation of noisy restaurants along the Miami River, and question why a boat repair place and showroom needs a six-storey facility.

“Our organisation is pro-building and pro-development. We want the area to grow and improve,” Salas told the commission. “But we want riverwalks and we want [onsite] parking.”

Puntallana LLC has nearly US$9m invested in the purchase of the three properties involved.

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