Related Group founder Jorge Pérez is speaking out against the proposed $1 billion plan to redevelop the city of Miami’s Melreese Golf Course into the home of Miami’s Major League Soccer team. But he isn’t interested in bidding on the property, Pérez told The Real Deal.
Miami’s condo king compared the deal to the Miami Marlins stadium debacle, citing the lack of community input and low rent that David Beckham’s group is proposing to pay, according to an email Perez sent to Miami Commissioner Ken Russell on Saturday. In the email, first reported by Channel 10 reporter Glenna Milberg, Perez asks Russell why the city doesn’t take its time and hire a professional appraiser to determine the property’s fair market value, adding that if he were developing a $1 billion deal, the land would account for about 20 percent, or $200 million.
At a 6 percent return, he wrote, rent would be $12 million – a far cry from the $3.6 million in annual rent that the Beckham group is proposing.
On Thursday evening, Beckham and the Mas brothers presented their plan to the city of Miami commission to redevelop the city-owned golf course and surrounding park complex into a massive mixed-use project anchored by a 25,000-seat stadium that will be home to the partners’ MLS franchise.
The group is seeking that a referendum be placed on the November ballot asking Miami residents to approve or deny a no-bid lease agreement for the site. It didn’t get an answer from the commission, which deferred a decision to a special commission meeting this Wednesday. Pérez, who is on vacation in Italy, confirmed his email to Russell in an email to TRD. He called Jorge Mas a friend, and said that he has not seen the proposal himself, only news of the proposal. He also wrote that he’s in favor of bringing professional soccer to Miami.
Pérez added that he has “ABSOLUTELY NO INTEREST” in bidding or participating in the deal.
The Melreese site would replace one in Overtown that the Beckham group planned to build the stadium on up until last month. But Jorge Mas, who along with his brother joined the partnership in December, said he was never sold on the Overtown site, arguing it would not benefit the residents of that neighborhood. And in the days leading up to last week’s commission meeting, a number of opponents have emerged, including parks activists, city watchdogs and Melreese users.
“I am VERY much opposed to taking open space away for private, for-profit purposes, particularly if a thorough financial analysis and community input has not taken place,” Pérez wrote in his email to TRD, later repeating that the city does not “want to repeat the Marlins debacle.”
“The huge commercial development around the proposed stadium, the necessary community input and the determination of fair market value are my concerns,” Pérez wrote.
The mega soccer complex, designed by Arquitectonica, would also feature 600,000 square feet of space for retail and restaurants, 400,000 square feet of office space, thousands of parking spaces, more than 700 hotel rooms, and 23 soccer fields on roughly 23 acres of green space.
In exchange, Mas said the project will invest $20 million in park improvements in addition to the proposed $3.6 million in annual rent.