Related closer to winning bid to develop Miami Dade College Biscayne Boulevard site

Related's Miami Dade College proposal and Jorge Perez
Related's Miami Dade College proposal and Jorge Perez

The Related Group is now one step closer to winning the bid to develop Miami Dade College’s prime Biscayne Boulevard site, where it plans to build a 75-story condominium tower, a 39-story office building and a 100-room hotel and private club, along with college facilities.

Miami Dade College’s evaluation committee ranked Related Group’s proposal at the top of three competing bidders on Tuesday, following months of negotiations in the heated race to develop the 520 Biscayne Boulevard site.

The college will now asks its Board of Trustees for the OK to “start deeper negotiations” with Related for the public/private project, Miami Dade College Provost Rolando Montoya said at the conclusion of the meeting Tuesday.

“It’s part of my personality, but I like simple, clear-cut designs, and I see this in this particular project,” Montoya said of Related’s concept during the evaluation committee’s discussion. He also cited attributes such as a separation between the public and private facilities and an open terrace outside where movies and presentations can be projected.

“In my opinion, it respects the Freedom Tower the most, it frames the Freedom Tower,” Montoya added.

At the same time, he referred to Gregg Covin/Oppenheim Architecture’s building as “iconic,” saying it is “definitely a very elegant building” that would “define Miami,” and said Nader + Museu’s  building was also “iconic and beautiful,” but “very large.”

In an auditorium filled with more than two dozen teenagers and adults dressed in white t-shirts backing Nader + Museu’s project, the committee acknowledged that Nader + Museu’s project actually provided more “enhancements.” Among them: a $10 million check to the college at the completion of each of two residential towers, a $2.5 million check to the college each year for $50 years, and 20 scholarships each year for five years. Yet the committee cited increased risk that Nader’s project would be completed, citing lower risk with Related.

For months, the college has been 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 are geared 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.

Related, Nader + Museu’s team and Gregg Covin Development/Oppenheim Architecture were all in the latest round to win the public/private development project, after the board of trustees told the evaluation committee to enter negotiations with the three top bidders in April.

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Related Group also had come out on top among the four bidders in the committee’s earlier ranking. Nader + Museu had come out second and Covin/Oppenheim third.

Miami Dade College last year received an unsolicited proposal for the Nader Latin American Art Museum from a group of partners that included 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.

Nader’s team declined comment at the conclusion of the meeting Tuesday. Covin/Oppenheim executives did not immediately respond to The Real Deal‘s requests for comment.

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

According to its proposal, 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.

Related estimates it will take a total off 78 months to complete all aspects of the project, the college’s real estate consultant Frank Zohn said. If construction does not begin 24 months after the firm is awarded the project, the college has the right to end the contract, he said.

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.

We are very pleased to have scored the top ranking,” Related Chairman and CEO Jorge Perez said in a statement, “and look forward to working with Miami Dade College on this very important project.”

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