Amid a flurry of legal filings related to Miami Dade College’s downtown site, a Florida administrative judge has ruled that Gary Nader’s team’s bid protest is dismissed, while the group can pursue its public records inquiry.
Meanwhile, Miami Dade College will be able to continue to negotiate with its top ranked bidder, the Related Group — if the college’s board of trustees gives it the green light.
The negotiations and the board’s vote had been put on hold for several weeks, as litigation played out.
“We are pleased that the judge is permitting the College to move forward with negotiations with the highest-ranked proposer, the Related Group,” Miami Dade College said in a statement. “The College Board of Trustees will be considering the judge’s recommendation regarding the Nader Team’s premature bid protest. We look forward to proceeding with this project.”
At the same time, Bill Riley, a partner with Gray|Robinson who represents Nader+Museu, called the judge’s ruling a “great victory,” and said the group’s legal rights are now preserved.
“We worked around the clock against an army of attorneys on the other side to get this victory,” he said. “It is exactly what we were hoping for.”
Last month, Nader and his team filed a lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court demanding access to public records related to the bidding process. Nader+Museu also had filed a bid protest as well as a lawsuit related to the $2.3 million bond required for the bid protest. Amid the litigation, the entire bidding process had halted and was placed on hold.
Miami Dade College’s spokesman had responded to the public records 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 Biscayne Boulevard site, which is 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. Nader+Museu filed a bid protest, which it later said was too early in the process, but the timing was required by the college’s procedures. The judge ruled that it was, in fact, too early and dismissed the protest. Nader’s team will have the opportunity to file a bid protest later in the process.