FIU soliciting bids to sublease, redevelop the Wolfsonian-FIU annex and lot in South Beach

Wolfsonian-FIU annex
Wolfsonian-FIU annex

Florida International University is soliciting bids to rehab or redevelop the Wolfsonian-FIU annex and parking lot in South Beach in a public-private partnership, The Real Deal has learned.

FIU just issued “an invitation to negotiate” for a sublease of the 28,000-square-foot Wolfsonian annex, built in 1927, at 1538 Lenox Avenue and the parking lot with 34 spaces at 1500 Lenox Avenue. The lease would run for up to 40 years, with options to renew for two additional five-year terms, subject to FIU’s approval, according to the university’s 255-page document. The price is to be provided by the bidders.

The site is zoned CD-1 commercial, which includes office, retail, restaurant, apartments or use as a bed-and-breakfast. The building would be subject to historic preservation requirements.

The properties are owned by the State of Florida Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund and leased to FIU. In 1987, art collector Mitchell Wolfson Jr. bought the properties and renovated the building to use as exhibition and collection storage facility for the Wolfsonian-FIU. Property records show Wolfson paid $687,80o for the building and lot. The state trust fund acquired the facilities in March 2004 as a donation for benefit of the Wolfsonian-FIU, a museum at 1001 Washington Avenue with 180,000 objects from the 1850s to the 1950s.

The four-story Mediterranean-Revival building was built to house the Southern Bell Telephone Company, according to FIU’s document.

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“The building would be a fantastic restaurant and office building,” Lyle Stern, president of the Miami Beach-based Koniver Stern Group told TRD. “It’s a beautiful building with magnificent architecture, very close to Lincoln Road, and it’s got its own parking and it has what could be rooftop dining, as well.”

Ground floor restaurant rents are going for about $50 to $80 per square foot in the area, Stern said.

Nearby, Menin Hospitality has plans to redevelop the historic Firestone service station on the 1500 block of Alton Road into Al’s diner, as part of a mixed-use retail/restaurant redevelopment with outdoor café seating.

An open house for prospective bidders of the Wolfsonian-FIU annex will be held on Tuesday, and a pre-proposal conference is scheduled for Thursday. Bids are due by June 2, and the evaluation committee will hold meetings through July 12, with an expected completion of contract negotiations on July 28.