Metropica gets green light in Sunrise
Commission approves development agreement; project to break ground in 2015
SUNRISE — Metropica, a $1 billion project with enough square feet to hold 70 football fields, will change the skyline of western Broward with buildings up to 30 stories — the tallest in Sunrise.
Sitting as the city’s Local Planning Agency, commissioners gave unanimous approval Tuesday 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 5-0 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.
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 height of Metropica’s condo towers have been capped at 300 feet, or 30 stories. If the developeropts to build that high, Metropica would have the tallest buildings in Sunrise. That current distinction belongs to Tao, whose twin condo towers stand 26 stories high and sit east of Sawgrass Mills.
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’s developer plans to break ground in early 2015.
Kavana hired environmental experts who determined there are no protected species or historic sites on the land, Collazo said.
Other regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, may conduct their own surveys.
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.”
Matthew Schwartz, executive director of the South Florida Wildlands Association, joined a few others in expressing his opposition. Saying he had only recently learned of the project, Schwartz questioned whether it would be a “money maker” for Sunrise or a “money loser,” with a high demand on city services.
Commissioner Joey Scuotto said he had been hearing about 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. “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.”