Miami Dade College to negotiate with Related and Nader for downtown site

Miami Dade College will begin negotiations with both the Related Group and Gary Nader’s team, as the competition to develop a prime downtown Miami site takes its next turn, following an evaluation committee meeting Monday morning.

In the running: condo towers that would soar 75 or 50 stories; a 39-story office tower; sculpture gardens, restaurants and more, all at the college’s Biscayne Boulevard site.

Related Group came out on top among the four bidders in the committee’s ranking, with 470 points; Nader+Museu | Limited Liability Limited Partnership’s proposal came in second with 440 points; Gregg Covin Development/Oppenheim Architecture’s bid earned 405 points; and Pi Art Tech and Trade Center at MDC, LLC ranked last with 330 points.

Third-placed Gregg Covin Development/Oppenheim Architecture will stay in the game in the event that negotiations fall through with the top two bidders. Fourth-ranked Pi Art Tech and Trade Center at MDC, LLC is now eliminated from the process, committee members decided.

For months, the college has been soliciting a developer to enter into a public/private partnership for the 2.6-acre parcel at 520 Biscayne Boulevard, currently used as a surface parking area at the college’s Wolfson Campus. The proposals 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.

Miami Dade College last year received an unsolicited proposal for the Nader Latin American Art Museum from a group of partners that includes Miami art gallery owner Nader, as well as and Roberto Rocha, CEO of Sofran Group, which prompted the college to put out bid packages. Proposals were due in January.

Covin and Chad Oppenheim; Nader, Rocha and FR-EE Architects; Jorge Brugo; and Jorge Perez’s Related Group have all gone head-to-head for a mixed-use project at the site.

After the public meeting on Monday, Lissette Calderon, president of Related International, said she was pleased with the results. “We’re excited to be part of Miami Dade College’s legacy and we’re excited to be ranked No. 1,” she told The Real Deal.

But Gary Nader was less than thrilled. In impassioned remarks after the meeting, he said the committee “did not understand” aspects of his proposal, notably that his museum would feature a 1,000-piece Latin American collection. “This is a vision to create a really important cultural venue for the world, not just for Miami Dade County,” he said.

“What is fantastic is that we’re still in, and we now have more time to make our point, to make them understand that we are the best proposal,” he added.

During the meeting, the committee came to a consensus in its ranking on the four bidders in four different categories: project concept; the companies’ background, financial strength and business success; business terms of the proposals; and small business utilization. The rankings were then weighted.

The Related Group’s proposal:

Winning bidder Related proposes a 75-story condominium tower as part of its plan, as well as a 39-story office tower, a 100-room hotel and private club. The cost for the public portion is estimated at $105 million.

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Related Group’s entity, PRH Investments LLC, includes partners: architects Arquitectonica; construction firm Moriarty; architecture firm Rodriguez and Quiroga Architects Chartered; Fisher Dachs Associates, performing arts space designers; cost consultants Donnell Consultants Inc.; acoustic consultants Jaffe Holden; branding and design agency Lemon Yellow; and law firms Greenberg Traurig and Stearns Weaver.

The group proposes its project be named ACME (Art, Culture, Museum Education), to include:

  •  Cultural Center consisting of:
    • 3,020-seat facility “ACME Hall”
    • 33,750-square-feet of programmable multi-functional space
    • 45,000-square-foot museum facility
    • Sculpture Garden – 35,900-square-foot, public rooftop sculpture garden
  • Residential Tower – 75-story tower with 350 condos
  • Office Tower – 39-story tower with 500,000 leasable square feet
  • Art Hotel – 100-key boutique hotel
  • Restaurant – 9,000-square-foot restaurant
  • Collegiate Club – 10,000-square-foot private club with free memberships available to Miami Dade College faculty and academic leadership

Related’s estimated construction costs are $673.7 million, including the $105 million for public improvements. As part of the deal, Related is offering to pay Miami Dade College 10 percent of every dollar of revenue derived from condo sales in excess of $750 per square foot. The firm is projecting sales at $850 per square foot, for an additional $5.3 million of proceeds to the college.

Nader+Museu | Limited Liability Limited Partnership’s proposal:

Nader and his partners have expanded their original proposal. In addition to the Latin American Art Museum, sculpture garden and performing arts theater, the proposal now includes a restaurant with 16,016 square feet, a 26,000-square-foot culinary market, and two 50-story residential towers with 250 units, each.

Overall, the proposal includes a  400,000-square-foot Latin American Art Cultural Center to include:

  •      158,000 square feet of exhibition space
  •      A 1,600-seat performing arts theater with orchestra pit, flying tower and film editing capabilities
  •      A 3,000-person conference center  
  •      A 40,000-square-foot outdoor vertical monumental sculpture garden 
  •      390 parking spaces

The development would also feature:

  •      Two 50-story condominium towers each with 250 high-end luxury residential units 
  •      A 16,000-square foot upscale restaurant
  •      A 26,000-square-foot culinary market
  •      A 1,500 car structured parking garage for residents

Partners now include Nader; BrasilInvest Development Company; Gernero Revocable Family Trust; architects Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Assoc.; Roberto Rocha, president and CEO of Sofran Group; contract management firm Special District Services; urban development consulting firm Redevelopment Management Servcies; Jose Rene Infante, founder of Redland Market Village; developer George de Guardiola; Emilio Estefan’s Theater Design Associates; accountant Leonardo Gravier and the non-profit firm Neighbors and Neighbors Association. 

The partnership proposes to pay the college $40,000 per condo unit sold in the first tower and $60,000 per condo unit sold in the second tower. It will also donate $10 million in “museum quality pieces” to the college each year, for a total donation of $60 million, according to the proposal. The cost of the public portion is estimated at $160 million.

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 before it ever chose a winner.

Evaluation committee members included Miami Dade College Provost Rolando Montoya and other college leaders: E.H. Levering, senior vice president of business affairs and CFO; Neyda Otero, interim vice provost, facilities management; Roy Martinez, associate vice provost, facilities management; and Yaremis Ponce Fullana, interim senior director of campus administrative services.