The Real Deal Miami

Avison Young’s Michael Fay proposes setting up competitive bidding process for Melreese site

Fay projects the 131-acre site is worth more than $200M
By Keith Larsen | July 18, 2018 12:30PM

Principal and managing director of Avision Young, Michael Fay with Melreese Country Club

As David Beckham and the Mas brothers seek approval to redevelop the Melreese Country Club into a mixed-use soccer complex, Avison Young’s Michael Fay wants to level the playing field.

Fay, managing director and principal of Avison Young’s Miami office, is proposing to set up a competitive bidding process for the 131-acre site, he told The Real Deal. Fay sent a letter on Tuesday to Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and the city commissioners requesting to set up a request for proposal process for the development and master plan use of the site in order to “drive the highest value and terms for the city.”

Fay supports bringing an MLS team to Miami, but believes there should be a “transparent process” for the Melreese site.

The letter comes on the heels of the city commissioners’ scheduled vote on the $1 billion plan to redevelop the city of Miami’s Melreese golf course into a massive development anchored by a 25,000-seat stadium that will be home to the partners’ Major League Soccer franchise.

The plan has drawn opposition from many nearby residents, local politicians and even Related Group’s Jorge Pérez, who compared the deal to the Miami Marlins stadium debacle. Critics say that the process has not been transparent and the proposed $3.6 million in annual rent the group would pay is too low. On Wednesday, attorney William Muir filed a lawsuit alleging Suarez, City Manager Emilio Gonzalez and the city commission are not following city law while considering the redevelopment proposal, according to the Miami Herald.

Fay estimates the property is worth more than $200 million, with annual rent at about $10 million or more, which is similar to Perez’s valuations of the site. Fay cited his knowledge of the market, clients and his experience completing more than $10 billion in real estate transactions.

The Beckham-Mas 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. Last week, the commission deferred a decision to a special commission meeting on Wednesday.

That proposal, 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.

Mas said the development group would invest $20 million in park improvements, as well as $35 million in environmental remediation at the Melreese.