Nir Shoshani said his company is fully committed to building Canvas, the largest condominium project in Miami's Omni/Arts and Entertainment district, and he's written a large check to prove it.

NR Investments, led by Shoshani and Ron Gottesmann out of Miami, recently cut a $4.85 million impact fee payment to the county, city, water department and utilities as a condition for its 1 million-square-foot project. The county demands all the impact fees up front, so Shoshani said this payment shows the developer is ready to move forward with the building at 1630 N.E. 1st Ave.

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Canvas Miami

"That is what we see as the commitment phase of the project," Shoshani said.

He started pre-sales in October and hopes to break ground in July. Construction will take about two years.

Canvas will have 513 units, ranging from 600 square feet to 1,150 square feet. The prices average $475 per square foot.

See the slideshow for renderings of Canvas.

"We have targeted small apartment to create something different and something that doesn't really exist in Miami – small livable units for first-time home buyers and young couples," Shoshani said.

Shoshani said he's looking more to local buyers and second homeowners from major U.S. cities as opposed to the wealthy foreigner market that most Miami condo builders are relying on. He said there's been a slowdown in interest for luxury properties from Latin America as many of their countries suffer economic problems.

"A lot of buildings out there aren't going to get built," Shoshani said. "I believe the luxury market will get hit soon. It has already started. The existing luxury products are not selling as quickly as they did a few years back."

Canvas is about affordable luxury, Shoshani said. His company is seeking to redefine its neighborhood, known as Omni, into the Arts and Entertainment District by holding arts and cultural events for the public. It started when NR Investments bought Filling Station Lofts several years ago and started renting it out. He hopes to bring more retail and restaurants into the neighborhood.

Canvas will have 10,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor plus a 5,000-square-foot restaurant on the rooftop 37 stories up.

Meanwhile, NR Investments intends to ask the city to rezone the entire area, from Northeast 14th Street to Northeast 17th Street, for higher density and to change many of the one-way streets to two-way streets, Shoshani said.

"We think this is crucial for an urban village concept with more density, to build a walkable and bikable neighborhood," Shoshani said.