Nonprofit campus in Kendall could be rezoned for housing

The Greater Miami Jewish Federation has submitted plans to seek a rezoning of the Alper Jewish Community Center (JCC) campus in Kendall with the intention of potentially constructing residential properties on a portion of the site.

The nonprofit Federation initiated a zoning application with Miami-Dade County officials in July, focusing on its expansive 21.4-acre campus situated at 11155 S.W. 112th Ave. Established in 1990, with its most recent major expansion dating back to 2003, the Alper JCC encompasses a diverse array of facilities, including educational institutions, a summer camp, sports facilities, and cultural amenities, spanning a total of 144,053 square feet in building space.

The proposed rezoning by the Federation entails changing the campus designation from RU-A to RU-4L, a move that would potentially allow for 23 residential units per acre, with the possibility of more if additional development incentives like workforce housing come into play.

As outlined in the application, the purpose of this rezoning is to “create additional housing opportunities to cater to the needs of employees, educators, and professionals working in the nearby employment centers.”

While the application doesn’t specify a particular development plan or the number of residential units to be constructed, Michelle Labgold, the Chief Planning Officer at the Federation, mentioned that they are considering the sale of a section of the Alper JCC property to generate funds for reinvestment in the remaining campus.

Labgold commented, “There is some underutilized land on the campus, and we are exploring the most suitable and beneficial use for it. Housing is one possibility, but we are in the early stages of exploration.”

The underutilized land in question is the ball field situated on the northeast corner of the campus.

The Federation was represented in the application by Miami-based attorney Ryan Bailine, and this proposed rezoning would require approval from the County Commission.

This potential move aligns with a broader trend in South Florida, where religious and nonprofit organizations have been selling their land to developers as a means of fundraising. Given the scarcity of vacant parcels in South Florida, developers are increasingly looking to institutional land for potential development opportunities.