Steven J. Wernick

Partner

F: (305) 351 8471
Overview Experience Insights News Education and Credentials Recognition and Community

Overview

Steven J. Wernick is an experienced land use attorney and maintains a multi-disciplinary practice infused with a passion for placemaking. He has significant experience representing real estate developers, property owners, and other real estate industry clients – skillfully navigating the intricacies of local government regulations and the development approval process to help clients deliver on great projects and revitalize urban core neighborhoods.

Steve’s work in recent years has been most prominent with projects under development in Wynwood, Miami’s emerging arts district undergoing a significant transformation into a 24/7 live, work, play neighborhood that has become an epicenter for global art tourism and expansion of Miami’s tech hub. Starting with his work for Goldman Properties on a portfolio of adaptive reuse projects and the award-winning Wynwood Garage, Steve has worked with local and national developers on entitlements for over 7 million square feet of new retail, office, multifamily and hospitality development constructed in Wynwood over the past decade.

Previously, Steve worked as special counsel for the Wynwood Business Improvement District (BID) in the creation and adoption of the Wynwood Neighborhood Revitalization District (NRD-1), recognized by the American Planning Association with the 2017 National Planning Award in Economic Development. Additionally, he has secured zoning and development approvals on multifamily office, and hospitality projects in Bay Harbor Islands, Edgewater, North Miami, Miami Beach and other waterfront communities in South Florida. Steve was intimately involved in securing entitlements for the Miami Design District Retail Street Special Area Plan – including infrastructure improvements, nonstandard covenants and a regulating plan to facilitate over 1 million square feet of development of luxury retail, art and civic space.

Steve has built a reputation as a trusted advisor for creative zoning tools to support neighborhood revitalization in South Florida’s emerging neighborhoods. As a trained urban planner and credentialed by American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), Steve has the ability to communicate with diverse community stakeholders, and is regularly asked to lead and facilitate code amendments and creative placemaking initiatives in emerging neighborhoods.

Steve is regularly asked to speak at conferences and to media outlets on evolving trends in planning and zoning and is cited by courts and secondary law sources nationwide, including Powell on Real Property and Land Use Planning and the Environment: A Casebook (2010).

Experience

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Represented developer of 250 Wynwood, an 11 unit 6-story live/work building and the first new construction under the Wynwood NRD-1 zoning district

Represented developer of CUBE Wynwood, a 90,000+ SF 8-story boutique office building

Represented developer of Wynwood 25, Wynwood’s first market-rate apartment building, rising 8-stories and 400,000 SF+ floor area, with 289 units and 31,000 SF of ground floor retail; and securing the first transfer of development rights (TDRs) from a qualified Legacy Structure in Wynwood

Represented developer of 545 Wyn, a  300,000 SF 10-story class A office building and parking garage with green roof deck developed by Sterling Bay

Represented Goldman Properties security zoning approvals for Wynwood Garage, a 8-story artistic parking garage with ground floor retail/restaurant uses and co-working space, and the first large scale new construction project approved by the Urban Development Review Board in Wynwood

Represented joint venture between L&L Holdings and Oak Row security development approvals for Wynwood Plaza, a 1 million square feet mixed-use development, including 200,000+ square feet class A office building and 500+ multifamily residential units, anchored by grand courtyard connecting Wynwood Norte and Wynwood Arts District

Represented Magellan Housing, developer of securing Wynwood Works, a warrant special permit and waivers for a 120-unit mixed-income multifamily residential building, including units priced for low-income, moderate-income and workforce households through a public-private partnership agreement with the Omni Community Redevelopment Agency

Represented developer of Mohawk at Wynwood, a 12-story 400,000+ Square feet market rate multifamily residential building including 226 units

Represented developer of The Rider, a 12-story 131-apartment hotel building adjacent to future Wynwood/Edgewater commuter rail station in Wynwood’s NE Quadrant, including short term rentals and a rooftop bar

Represented developer of Wynwood Urby, securing WDRC Approval and waiver special permit for 1.3 acre site to be redeveloped as 289 dwelling units, 17,000 square feet of commercial space and curated art program

Represented Fifield Companies' Wynwood Station, an 8-story building which includes 210 apartments and 11,000 sq. ft. of retail space, secured WDRC Approval, waiver special permit and other development approvals

Assisted with drafting and advocating for City of Miami Zoning Reform Legislation; including amendments to Miami 21 zoning code and land development regulations to harness new technologies and building industry innovations; led a research effort to support micro-unit legislation sponsored by Miami Mayor Francis Suarez to study and incorporate best practices from Austin, TX, Seattle, WA, and other first-tier markets to expand housing options tied to transit-served districts in Miami

Assisted with Wynwood Arts District NRD-1,contributed to crafting and security City Commission approval of legislation implementing the Wynwood Neighborhood Revitalization District (NRD-1), which brought recognition to the City of Miami’s first NRD, including 2017 APA Award: Best Economic Development Plan

Assisted with Underline Special District & Impact Fee Allocation; worked to secure up to $65 million in park impact fees from City of Coral Gables and City of Miami to be allocated to The Underline – Miami’s ambitious urban trail project stretching 10+ miles through multiple jurisdictions; currently chairs a committee studying The Underline Special District, including value capture mechanisms for long-term sustainability

Assisted with El Portal Form-Based Zoning Code; acted as special counsel to the Village of El Portal’s Planning Director advising on best practices implementation for creation/adoption of the Village’s Form Based Code

Assisted with Wynwood Norte NRD-2, co-authored and guided the Wynwood Norte Neighborhood Revitalization District (NRD-2), the City of Miami’s 2nd NRD, through community engagement and public hearing approvals; as a 141-acre overlay district, the NRD-2 was the largest neighborhood rezoning ever adopted under Miami 21 and brought together diverse stakeholders to support a measured and context-sensitive rezoning that allows for additional density while promoting the character of the neighborhood

Insights

Education and Credentials

Education
University of Florida, J.D., Order of the Coif, Florida Law Review
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, M.R.P., Masters in Regional Planning, Real Estate Development
Boston University, B.A., magna cum laude, Bachelor's in Counsel American Studies
Admissions
State of Florida
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
Affiliations
American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP)

Recognition and Community

Recognition

No aspect of these advertisements has been approved by the highest court of any state. See Awards Methodology.

Daily Business Review, Unsung Hero Award, 2022

Builders Association of South Florida, President's Award, 2021

Super Lawyers Magazine, Florida, 2013-2023

Daily Business Review, Real Estate Lawyer of the Year, 2017

Builders Association of South Florida, Joseph G. Goldstein

Legislative Leadership Award, 2017

South Florida Business Journal 40 under 40, 2017

CHS Child Advocate of the Year, 2015

No aspect of these advertisements have been approved by the highest court of any state. See Awards Methodology.

Community

University of Miami School of Architecture, Adjunct Professor, 2021–Present

ULI SE Florida, Caribbean, Advisory Board Member, 2018-2020

Friends of the Underline, Inc., Board Member, 2017–Present

Wynwood Community Enhancement Association, Advisor/Pro Bono Counsel, 2019–Present

Children's Home Society of Florida, Inc., State Board of Directors, 2016-2019

City of Miami Waterfront Advisory Board, Chairman, 2015- 2017

Builders Association of South Florida, Chair, City of Miami Working Group, 2019-Present