Amid the contentious competition for Miami Dade College’s prime downtown site, bidder Gary Nader and his team have filed a lawsuit demanding access to public records related to the bidding process.
Nader+Museu has already filed a bid protest as well as a lawsuit related to the $2.3 million bond required for the bid protest. The latest suit, filed in Miami Dade Circuit Court alleges that the college is in violation of the Public Records Act, and asks a judge for a hearing.
Amid the litigation, the entire bidding process has halted and is on hold.
“We had to resort to a legal complaint to secure the public records, and once we get the public records we may amend our bid protest depending on what we learn in those public records,” Bill Riley, a partner with GrayRobinson, representing Nader+Museu, told The Real Deal.
Miami Dade College’s spokesman responded to the suit, telling TRD: “The college has adhered to all procedures,” and declined additional comment.
Miami Dade College has not yet awarded a contract in the months-long process to develop the 2.6-acre site at 520 Biscayne Boulevard into a mixed-use project in a public-private partnership. But the college’s evaluation committee has ranked the Related Group as the top bidder. Nader+Museu was ranked second.
Related’s proposal includes a 75-story condominium tower, a 39-story office tower, a 100-room hotel and private club. Nader+Museu’s proposal includes two 50-story residential towers, a hotel, restaurant and culinary market.
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 each had 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.
Miami Dade College had received an unsolicited proposal for the Nader Latin American Art Museum last year from Nader’s group, which prompted the college to put out bid packages. Proposals were due in January. Gregg Covin and Chad Oppenheim; Nader, Roberto Rocha and FR-EE Architects; Jorge Brugo; and Jorge Perez’s Related Group had all gone head-to-head for a mixed-use project at the site.
Following a Miami Dade College evaluation committee meeting in July, the college issued “a notice of intended decision” to recommend it negotiate a contract with Related. In the complicated public-private partnership process, that offers a window of opportunity to file a bid protest.
According to the latest suit, Nader’s team sent a public records request to the college on June 10 and followed up on June 13. On June 14, the college responded that it would make the documents available, according to the suit. Riley said various documents still have not been provided.
According to the suit, documents Nader+Museu requested included those related to an investigative report about interactions between Related Group’s Lissette Calderon and Bilzin Sumberg attorney Suzanne Amaducci-Adams, who serves a consultant on the bidding process. Other documents requested include those related to the selection of the evaluation committee, the selection of Bilzin Sumberg, disclosures about the relationship between Calderon and Amaducci-Adams; the conflict waiver for Bilzin to the college and documents related to the college’s private investigator, among others, the suit said.