Metropica gets green light in Sunrise
Commission approves development agreement; project to break ground in 2015
By Susannah Bryan, Sun Sentinel
May 14, 2014
Metropica, a $1 billion project with enough square feet to hold 70 football fields, won a key endorsement from Sunrise commissioners Tuesday night.
Sitting as the city's Local Planning Agency, commissioners gave unanimous approval to a development agreement that sets design guidelines developer Joseph Kavana must follow as the 4 million-square-foot project is built over the next decade.
"I would call it a dream community," Kavana told commissioners before the vote. "It's a self-contained community where the residents who live there will have access to their own amenities."
The transit-oriented development would encourage residents to get around on foot — or bike — rather than hopping in their cars, said Susan Motley, an attorney for Metropica.
Initial phases call for 1,250 high-rise units, 485,000 square feet of commercial and 150,000 square feet of office space on 28 acres.
But when finished, Metropica would have up to 2,500 condos, 300 townhomes, 485,000 square feet of commercial space and 785,000 square feet of office space, plus a 2-acre park that will be deeded to the city.
The building height would be capped at 300 feet, or about 30 stories.
Eventually, Metropica's developers will seek approval from Sunrise commissioners to rezone the land.
"This is not the first step in our process, but an important step," Motley said of Tuesday's vote. "We need several things to happen before we can get a shovel in the ground."
Commissioners also must sign off on the project's master plan and phased-in site plans for the 50-acre site, located just west of Sawgrass Mills at Sunrise Boulevard and Northwest 136th Avenue.
"We believe this intersection is the nexus of the next development wave that will occur," Kavana associate Erick Collazo told commissioners.
Metropica will likely break ground in early 2015, Motley said.
Kavana hired experts who determined there are no protected species or historic sites on the land, Collazo said.
Critics questioned whether Sunrise has the water capacity to accommodate the project. Collazo said the city has advised him that it does.
Sunrise resident Skye McCloud said she was taken aback by the size of the project.
"I'm not going to ask you to stop it," she told commissioners. "I'd like the residents to know more about the environmental impacts. The scope of this is just mind-boggling to me."
Commissioner Joey Scuotto said he had been hearing of Kavana's vision for more than 10 years.
"We can't just stop every single development that comes to this city because of a few people," Scuotto said, referring to a handful of critics. "We're all believers in this project. The residents aren't here tonight because obviously they don't see it as a burden to the city."
Copyright © 2014, South Florida Sun-Sentinel