Rolling the dice: Charter school, apartments planned for Hialeah Park racetrack and casino property

East of the racetrack, the Brunetti family and Prestige Companies plan to build 343 apartments on 12.6 acres

Miami /
Aug.August 27, 2021 09:45 AM
Rolling the dice: Charter school, apartments planned for Hialeah Park racetrack and casino property

Hialeah Park (Hialeah Park Casino)

A public charter school and low-rise apartments are planned next to the Hialeah Park racetrack and casino, as the first phase of a long-term development of the 200-acre property.

The Brunetti family, which owns Hialeah Park, is developing the projects in partnership with Miami Lakes-based developer Prestige Companies and Mater Academy, which will operate the school.

City commissioners voted 4-1 Tuesday night for a conditional use permit that allows development of a charter school, kindergarten through 12th grade, with a maximum of 2,950 students in the northeast corner of the largely vacant Hialeah Park Racing & Casino property.

The commissioners also gave initial approval on first reading to proposed development and design standards for a multi-phase development starting in the northeast corner of the Hialeah Park property. Along with the charter school, it includes 343 apartments.

In addition to state-licensed horse racing and casino operations, the special zoning district for Hialeah Park allows permitted uses that range from hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs to a supermarket, a bowling alley, and an equestrian hospital.

The Brunetti family owns Hialeah Park through Bal Bay Realty, Ltd., which is headed by John Brunetti, Jr. His father John Brunetti, Sr., who bought Hialeah Park in 1977, died in 2018. Hialeah Park is southwest of the intersection of East Fourth Avenue and East 32nd Street in Hialeah.

Mater Academy is a Hialeah Gardens-based operator of charter schools that runs 32 in Miami-Dade County, including eight in the Hialeah area, plus 10 schools Nevada and six others in Central Florida, according to its website.

“They know what they’re doing,” said Hernan Leonoff, a principal of Aventura-based MG|3 Developer Group, which has developed several charter schools in South Florida. “I cannot judge if [Hialeah Park] is an appropriate location or not, but Mater is a very experienced group,” he told The Real Deal.

The design of the 12.29-acre charter school campus at Hialeah Park will secure it and segregate it from the property’s casino and racetrack, said Javier Vazquez, a Berger Singerman attorney who represented Mater Academy at the city commission meeting.

“It’s no different from a school that is two or three blocks away from any other type of [property] use that would be concerning,” Vazquez said. “The important thing is that Mater has a system that is proven in other locations. Mr. Brunetti, in the operation of his casino, is obviously very sensitive to make sure that minors are not allowed there.”

Vazquez also told commissioners that the Brunetti family and its partners will retain, not replace, the casino and racetrack and other gaming infrastructure at Hialeah Park, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Brunetti family has literally millions of reasons to preserve its cash cows from gambling at Hialeah Park, such as slot machines, which the venue introduced in August 2013. Hialeah Park’s net slot revenue after paying winning wagers and other expenses totaled $40.7 million in the 12 months ended June 30, 2020, according to an annual report from the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.

Gambling options at Hialeah Park include playing slot machines and card games in its casino, and pari-mutuel wagering on televised horse races. Hialeah Park also hosts live quarter horse races on its track, which still wraps around a National Audubon Society-certified habitat for pink flamingos featured in the opening credits of the old “Miami Vice” television show.

Just east of the racetrack, the Brunetti family and Prestige Companies plan to build 343 rental units in a cluster of two-story townhouses and three-story garden-style apartment buildings on 12.6 acres along East Fourth Avenue, between East 22nd Street and East 30th Street. The residential development would have 702 parking spaces and a 4,100-square-foot recreational clubhouse.

Multifamily properties in Hialeah and Miami Lakes have a 98.1 percent occupancy rate, the highest among 22 submarkets in tri-county South Florida, according to a mid-2021 research report by Berkadia.

About a five-minute drive north of Hialeah Park, Related Group and Fontainebleau Development broke ground last month on Las Carreras, a 642-unit garden apartment project at 7218 West Fourth Avenue.





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    A photo illustration of Treo Group’s Otto Boudet-Murias along with 1100 East 41st Street (top), 4005 East 10th Court (middle), and 3925 East 10th Court (bottom) in Hialeah (Getty, Google Maps, LinkedIn/Otto Boudet-Murias)
    Treo sells Hialeah warehouses, doubles its investment
    Treo sells Hialeah warehouses, doubles its investment
    From left: Fuse Group’s Eyal Peretz and Shimon Elkabetz along with a rendering of The Arcadian project (Fuse Group, TBA)
    Eyal Peretz’s Fuse gets final OK for multifamily near Flagler Village
    Eyal Peretz’s Fuse gets final OK for multifamily near Flagler Village
    From left: Axonic Properties’ Jonathan Shechtman and Clayton DeGiacinto; Integra Investments’ Nelson Stabile; the Bella Vista apartment complex at 3541 Northwest 30th Place in Lauderdale Lakes (Getty, Google Maps, Axonic Properties, Integra Investments)
    Axonic scoops up Lauderdale Lakes multifamily in $64M deal
    Axonic scoops up Lauderdale Lakes multifamily in $64M deal
    Andrew Zobler with a rendering of the NoMad Residences project in Wynwood
    Farsighted: Andrew Zobler talks hotel market, surviving the dip and more
    Farsighted: Andrew Zobler talks hotel market, surviving the dip and more
    Alta Development’s Henry Pino along with 160 and 180 Southwest Ninth Street (Getty, Google Maps)
    Henry Pino’s Alta bets on Brickell resi market
    Henry Pino’s Alta bets on Brickell resi market
    Lincoln Property Company’s Tim Byrne and the development site at 3450 Northwest 85th Court in Doral (Google Maps, Lincoln Property Company)
    Lincoln scores $103M construction loan for Doral apartments
    Lincoln scores $103M construction loan for Doral apartments
    (Photo Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty Images)
    After Ian: South Florida’s construction costs, insurance to rise
    After Ian: South Florida’s construction costs, insurance to rise
    Florida Atlantic University processor Ken Johnson and Brown Harris Stevens' Sheila Rojas (Florida Atlantic University, Brown Harris Stevens, Getty)
    Record rent hikes had slowed. Ian may change that
    Record rent hikes had slowed. Ian may change that
    arrow_forward_ios

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

    Loading...