Miami-Dade committee backs Flagler site for new downtown courthouse

Vote is another victory for Brightline’s parent company, which has long championed the site

Miami /
Jul.July 12, 2018 03:45 PM

Six Miami-Dade County Commissioners are recommending that a 25,000-square-foot park on Flagler Street be the sole site for a new Miami-Dade Civic Courthouse.

The unanimous vote came Tuesday morning during a chairman’s policy council meeting held in county chambers. The site item will come before the full 13-member county commission on July 24.

County officials have been attempting to find a way to partner with a private developer to construct a new 600,000-square-foot civil courthouse in Miami’s downtown area ever since Miami-Dade voters rejected a $390 million bond issue in 2014. Lawyers and judges insist that the current Miami-Dade County Courthouse at 79 West Flagler Street, built in 1928, is essentially an unsafe building with loose plaster, mold infestations, crummy plumbing, and lead-contaminated drinking water.

However, there’s been disagreement over how the county should go about selecting a development team to build the new courthouse or where it should be located. On June 5, over the objections of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, the county commission decided to throw out a P3 “two-step” bidding process and issue a brand new open bidding method that was advocated by one of the bidders, a development team lead by Florida East Coast Industries. FECI is the parent company of the Brightline train system and developer of MiamiCentral, a 3-million-square-foot, mixed-use project that will include apartments, retail, offices, and a pair of train stations.

Gimenez had also tried to throw out FECI’s unsolicited bid to construct a new courthouse in exchange for $26 million a year for the next 35 years, only to be overruled by the county commission.

Tuesday’s vote, which took less than five minutes, was yet another victory for the FECI-led team which has long advocated that the new courthouse be built on Cultural Center Plaza Park, located just west of the Flagler Courthouse and east of the Metrorail tracks and the Cultural Center Plaza. The Cultural Center Plaza is home to the HistoryMiami museum and Miami-Dade’s main library.

Previously, Gimenez advocated a 42,000-square-foot site by the new Miami Children’s Courthouse at 155 Northwest Third Street. Gimenez claimed the county would save $6.3 million building at the Children’s Courthouse site since it was essentially vacant (it’s now a surface parking lot) and already environmentally remediated.

However, Flagler business owners, the Downtown Development Authority, and lawyer groups like the Cuban American Bar Association insisted on the Flagler site.

Commissioner Sally Heyman thinks the site near the Miami Children’s Courthouse should be reserved for a future facility that can provide services for children and families. Heyman also felt that a new courthouse belongs “right here on Flagler” since it’s a “central draw for the community.”

“It further defines us as a big player in a big city in a big county,” Heyman added.

During the meeting, the mayor’s office didn’t voice any objection to Flagler being the sole site. Instead, Deputy Mayor Edward Marquiz just urged a decision. “A selection of a site is critical for us to move forward judiciously,” he told commissioners.

Eugene Stearns, FECI’s lobbyist, said the debate over where to build the new courthouse “is over” and that Gimenez has “seen the writing on the wall.”

Besides FECI, four other development teams have submitted proposals to build a new courthouse: Fengate Capital Management, the Plenary Group, Sacyr Infrastructure USA, and M-S-E Judicial Partners. A new RFP (request for proposals) will be issued in 30 days. A separate bid will be issued for developers interested in buying and redeveloping the current historically designated courthouse.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
From left: TRP's President Daniel Firtel, MV Real Estate Holdings' Alex Mantecon, and TRP's Brandon Johnson with 8303 SW 40th Street
Who wants Cookies? National cannabis firm opening dispensary in Westchester
Who wants Cookies? National cannabis firm opening dispensary in Westchester
Bay Harbor Islands, Miami-Dade County, CMC Group, Morabito Properties, Terra, Alta Developers
Here are the resi projects planned for Bay Harbor Islands
Here are the resi projects planned for Bay Harbor Islands
From left: RK Centers principal Ranaan Katz and Seritage CEO Andrea Olshan in front of the shopping center at 1460 West 49th Street in Hialeah (Google Maps, Seritage Growth Properties, RK Centers)
Seritage flips Hialeah shopping center for $28M, banking $6M profit in hours
Seritage flips Hialeah shopping center for $28M, banking $6M profit in hours
A photo illustration of Megacenter Palmetto at 8600 Northwest South River Drive in Medley (top left), 401 North Military Trail in West Palm Beach (top right), and Pelican Bays office/warehouse complex at 4990 Southwest 52nd Street in Davie (bottom) (Getty Images, LoopNet, Extra Space Storage)
Industrial rents keep climbing, as vacancies drop in South Florida
Industrial rents keep climbing, as vacancies drop in South Florida
Prive at 5000 Island Estates Drive in Aventura (Condo.com, getty)
Privé in Aventura closing tops Miami-Dade’s weekly condo sales
Privé in Aventura closing tops Miami-Dade’s weekly condo sales
Companies principal Alan Macken with Koya Bay
Macken scores $16.5M construction loan for Koya Bay townhome development in North Miami Beach
Macken scores $16.5M construction loan for Koya Bay townhome development in North Miami Beach
Hyatt CEO Mark Hoplamazian and Gencom Founder and Principal Karim Alibhai with a rendering of the proposed three-tower development at 400 Southeast Second Avenue (James L. Knight Center) (LinkedIn, Gencom, Arquitectonica)
Hyatt, Gencom score Miami commission approval for James L. Knight Center referendum
Hyatt, Gencom score Miami commission approval for James L. Knight Center referendum
Crunch Fitness and Big Move Properties' Douglas Levine with  8200 Northeast Second Avenue and 201 Northeast 82nd Street (Google Maps, Lead Edge Capital)
Crunch Fitness founder beefs up retail portfolio with $18M purchase in Little Haiti
Crunch Fitness founder beefs up retail portfolio with $18M purchase in Little Haiti
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...