NoBe Nexo—Recipient of the 2017 Plimpton-Poorvu Design Prize

by Lisa Hollywood (MAUD ’17), Chris Merritt (MLA ’17), Patricia Alvarez (MDes REBE ’18) and Lindsay Woodson (MDes RR/MUP ’17)

NOBE NEXO is a redevelopment project in North Miami Beach, Florida, integrating a mix of uses into a cultural and culinary hub that through a performative density strategy provides a model of resilience to climate change and gentrification. The project implements immediate mitigation and prevention measures for pressing environmental risks as well as delivering assets relevant to the current residents and local character of the neighborhood.

Site Plan
Site Plan

Located at the boundary between the affordable neighborhood of North Beach and the upscale neighborhood of Surfside to the north, development pressure is acute at this location. Nobe Nexo creates a nexus between the disparate neighborhoods and protects the residents of North Beach from wholesale displacement.

The current North Beach community is economically disadvantaged compared to its neighbors, and the population is largely Hispanic. This project also aims to ameliorate the food insecurity of the neighborhood and frames the development as a culinary destination for all income levels.

The 18-acre site includes 1.5 million square feet of retail, hospitality, institutional and residential uses, offering an array of products and units to balance the requirements for affordability and luxury within 3 phases over a 15 year investment horizon. The land assembly is facilitated by a clustering of publicly-owned land at the site, with 58% of the parcels owned by either of the city (West Lots) or institutions (elementary school, senior housing, and church).

In order to afford the resiliency measures required for the area, on top of the subsidies applicable to the development, the Adaptation Action Area seeks to involve third party capital through innovative financing alternatives. The level of investment calls for an enhanced density or “Performative Density” within a private-public partnership structure to ensure the feasibility of public benefits. The massing responds to the existing context with height along the bay and Collins Avenue, and steps down toward single-family housing to the south. Neighborhood features are preserved within the redevelopment, with the preservation of specific historic buildings and the continuation of existing institutional uses.

The main artery of the development, Nexo Paseo, is an open space promenade connecting the bay and the ocean, and is the focal point of food-related programming and community vitality. It performs as the food hub, job center, economic driver, and stormwater management system that functions as the foundation of the development.