This past Wednesday, the City of Miami Urban Development Review Board voted 5-0 to approve the development plan for Cassa Grove, a Class A apartment community to be built next to Miami’s Coconut Grove Metrorail station. The plan was presented by Cassa Grove Holdings, a joint venture between MEC Development Associates, B Developments, and Abington Properties, which plan to begin construction on the project in early 2017 and finish by late 2018.
“We're extremely excited to be able to bring this innovative project to one of Miami’s most beloved neighborhoods,” Tomas Possenti, MEC’s development coordinator, said in a press release.
One of Cassa Grove’s defining features is its transit-oriented location. The Coconut Grove Metrorail station is only a block away, and the elevated train track runs directly behind the property—as does The Underline, a 10-mile urban park in development under the tracks, for which Cassa Grove will provide a public access plaza.
Sebastian Barbagallo, principal of B Developments, says both the Metrorail and the accompanying Underline will be an important draw for Cassa Grove, for young professionals and students alike. “Many of the apartments around the Metrorail stations are being built as spaces for urban living,” Barbagallo said. “We see this potential by the Miami Underline. It’s a linear park with arts, sports … and [it’s] a new place in Miami that integrates millennial living with the old Miami. So I think, in that sense, Cassa Grove is very unique because of its relative location.”
Cassa Grove’s 116, market-rate apartment units will range in size from 652 square feet to over 1,300 square feet. Several will contain private patios that open on to a shared amenities deck, which will include an infinity-edge pool, a fitness center, semi-private rentable entertainment spaces, a public lounge, gazebos, and dog grooming stations. Public collaborative spaces will also be available for use by Cassa Grove’s residents.
“One of the things about rental living right now is a greater percentage of people are renting rather than owning. And they want a true community feeling,” said RJ de Varona, a member of the Cassa Grove Holdings leadership team. “The whole idea behind Cassa is, it’s modern living for all. Housing is an expensive element in Miami, and you have to provide properties that are accessible. … [our] market rates are a little higher than in other markets. [But] we're making a concerted effort to really provide the most return for those dollars.”
De Varona expects that some of these savings will come from residents’ ease of access to public transportation. He predicts that young resident couples may need only one car instead of two, and that single residents may not need a car at all. “Most of the people in this group have lived in other cities where they haven't been car-dependent … they transport themselves through Metro, or a combination of Metro and Uber,” he said.
Cassa Grove will be the third property in South Florida Equity Group Holdings's “Cassa” real estate brand, after Cassa at Georgetown and Cassa Brickell. (MEC Development is an affiliate of South Florida Equity Group Holdings.) Cassa at Georgetown’s 118 townhomes in Lauderhill, Fla., were completed in 2014, and the 80-unit Cassa Brickell condo in Miami is set to have its grand opening this week.