Miami-Dade commission gives thumbs up to massive Douglas Station redevelopment

Project will have 970 residences, 150-key hotel, retail and a public plaza

Jul.July 19, 2016 05:45 PM

Rendering of the Link at Douglas

The Link at Douglas is a go.

County commissioners on Tuesday approved a deal paving the way for 13th Floor Investments and the Adler Group to build their 7-acre development at the Douglas Road Metrorail Station.

The deal boils down to a ground lease for Adler and 13th Floor to redevelop county-owned land at the Metrorail station, which is currently occupied by a parking lot and the county’s Water & Sewer Department headquarters.

Under the approved deal, Adler and 13th Floor have a lease on the land for 30 years, plus two options to extend the term for another 30 years each.

The two partners now have the green light to move forward with their massive mixed-use development, complete with 970 residences, a 150-key hotel, 70,000 square feet of retail space and a public plaza.

According to a news release from the developers, Link at Douglas will be built in four phases. The first will include a residential tower, the hotel and a portion of the retail section that will include a “premium supermarket.” Driftwood Hospitality Management, which primarily owns and operates hotels under brands like Marriott and Hilton, will be a partner in the project’s hotel portion.

Attorneys Ryan Bailine and Nancy Lash of Greenberg Traurig represented the developers, helping negotiate both the ground lease and development agreement. Also acting as co-council for the developers were Diana Mendez and Alexander Heckler of the firm Llorente & Heckler, P.A.

Rendering of the Link at Douglas

The deal appears to be a fruitful one for the county: Link at Douglas is expected to create 1,400 jobs during its development, according to the county, along with a minimum of 223 permanent positions once it’s completed. Along the way, $464 million in revenue is projected to flow during the first 30 years to the county’s Department of Transportation and Public Works, which will be the only public entity to see proceeds from the project.

Meanwhile, 13th Floor and Adler will still have to submit their designs and construction plans for approval to the department before each phase begins.

The deal came with other county-mandated stipulations: 13th Floor and Adler will have to reserve at least 12.5 percent of its 970 residential units for workforce housing, spend $14 million on improving the Metrorail station and make a $600,000 contribution to the Underline Project.

The two previously made a $25,000 donation to the Underline, which is a planned 10-mile linear park that would run underneath the elevated Metrorail lines.

13th Floor and Adler had been competing with the Related Group for the project, which came about from a “request for proposals” issued two years ago by Miami-Dade. Besides the economic windfall, the county’s goal for the project is to promote “maximum patronage of the transit system” that links the nearby neighborhoods Coral Gables and Coconut Grove to downtown Miami.

Adler and 13th Floor pulled ahead in June 2015 when their proposal received top marks from the county’s selection committee based on cost, square footage and phasing.

“Transit-oriented development is the wave of the future and Miami-Dade County has proven itself to be a pioneer in helping to redefine the way we think about – and experience – urban living,” 13th Floor’s Managing Principal Arnaud Karsenti said in a statement. “By building around, and investing in, our mass transit, we can reduce congestion on our roadways and connect neighborhoods in our community for greater quality of life.”

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