The Real Deal Miami

Bids in: four groups to compete for Miami Dade College downtown site

Related Group, Gregg Covin and Chad Oppenheim among bidders

January 19, 2016 06:00PM
By Ina Cordle

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Developers and the MDC site

From left: Gary Nader, Jorge Brugo, Jorge Perez, Gregg Covin and Chad Oppenheim and the 520 Biscayne Boulevard site

Four sets of bidders will vie for Miami Dade College’s prime downtown Miami development site, following the deadline for proposals on Tuesday afternoon.

Gregg Covin and Chad Oppenheim; Gary Nader, Roberto Rocha and FR-EE Architects; Jorge Brugo; and Jorge Perez’s Related Group will all go head-to-head for a mixed-use project at the 520 Biscayne Boulevard site, The Real Deal has learned.

Only the names of the bidders were released by Miami Dade College:

  • Gregg Covin Development/Oppenheim Architecture
  • Nader+Museu | Limited Liability Limited Partnership
  • Pi Art Tech and Trade Center at MDC, LLC
  • The Related Group

The college is soliciting a developer to enter into a public/private partnership for the 2.6 acre parcel currently used as a surface parking area at the college’s Wolfson Campus. The proposals were to include a cultural center with a 1,600-seat performing arts theater, a conference center that can house 3,000 people, a museum measuring at least 100,000 square feet, and parking.

nader proposal

Nader Group’s proposal

Miami Dade College earlier this year received an unsolicited proposal for the Nader Latin American Art Museum from a group of partners that includes Miami art gallery owner Nader; Rocha, CEO of Sofran Group; FR-EE Architects and others, which prompted the college to put out a “supplemental information package,” requesting bids.

Now, Covin and Oppenheim are back in the bidding after being among those competing for the site eight years ago. In addition to a museum, performing arts center and conference center, Covin and Oppenheim told TRD they are proposing retail, office and multifamily components and a university-level athletic center.

“We thought the right route was to incorporate everything together as a massive expansion of the college. It’s an incredibly important institution for Miami,” Covin said.

Illustration by dbox

Gregg Covin and Chad Oppenheim’s proposal

“As far as design, Chad has created an amazing iconic design that is more academic in nature, and we feel appropriate for a college campus,” he said.

“We just believe Miami deserves more than another condo tower,” Oppenheim added.

Pi Art Tech and Trade Center at MDC LLC, an entity created Jan. 11, is led by Brugo, Florida incorporation records show. According to his LinkedIn page, Brugo is a real estate entrepreneur, co-founder of LuxurInvest LLC, the founder of Spainvestment and founder and president of Axis Realty Trust.

Related had told TRD it would bid, and Arquitectonica founder Bernardo Fort-Brescia had told TRD that his firm is partnering with Related on the planned proposal.

In addition to the Latin American art museum, the 69-page proposal from Nader and partners includes a performing arts theater, sculpture garden and conference center, as well as two residential towers with 528 units, a condo-hotel with 144 units, a restaurant space and parking.

Roman Martinez, group director of purchasing for Miami Dade College, told TRD via email that a State of Florida statute prohibits the release of the proposals filed on Tuesday.

“As it relates to releasing any of the actual proposals submitted, unfortunately there is a waiting period of 30 days or if we make a decision before then, then we can release the documents,” he said in the email.

It’s the second time in a decade that Miami Dade College has looked for development proposals for its key property. In 2007, the college put out an “Invitation to Negotiate” for the site, but ended up shelving the plan amid the real estate downturn, before choosing a winner. Proposers included a partnership between developer Covin and architect Oppenheim, but no finalist or winner was selected, according to a college spokesman.