Take two: Blackstone affiliate proposes industrial complex with movie studio at Calder’s horse racing track

Plan is for 12 warehouses, distribution facilities and movie and TV production studios

Link Logistics' Luke Petherbridge (Link Logistics, Calder Casino, iStock)
Link Logistics' Luke Petherbridge (Link Logistics, Calder Casino, iStock)

Blackstone’s subsidiary Link Logistics wants to build a 2.3 million-square-foot industrial complex on Calder Casino’s horse racing track in Miami Gardens.

The proposal is for 12 buildings on 115.7 acres at 21001 Northwest 27th Avenue, according to an application filed with the city by Calder Race Course. The complex would feature warehouses and distribution facilities, as well as radio, movie and TV studios, and music production spaces.

The Miami Gardens City Council is expected to vote Wednesday on the request for two special exceptions allowing the development. Then the city would have to approve the project’s site plan.

The property covers the large horse racing track and surrounding property just south of Northwest 215th Street. The project would include the construction of a north-south road connecting with 215th Street.

The project would cost $700 million for the land, design, construction and soft costs, Calder Casino President Richard Sukhu said in a letter to the city.

Calder Casino’s parent company, Louisville, Kentucky-based Churchill Downs, had announced in November that it plans to sell the acreage to Link Logistics for $291 million, according to media reports. The land sale has not yet closed, as a deed or reorganization of the ownership entity has not been recorded.

If approved, construction will start late this year or in early 2023. The project would be built in two phases, with a final completion in 2025.

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Calder, which has a casino with slot machines and card rooms, suspended horse racing in 2020. That opened the door to redevelopment of the former track.

The application likens the project to two industrial developments in Miami Gardens. In 2016, Calder Race Course sold 61 acres of its property to Jackson, Mississippi-based EastGroup Properties for $26.5 million. EastGroup is completing development of the 850,000-square-foot Gateway Commerce Park industrial complex at 1680 Northwest 215th Street.

Also nearby, Chicago-based Bridge Development Partners is developing the 2.1 million-square-foot Bridge Point Commerce Center on 186 acres at the southeast corner of Northwest 215th Street and Northwest 47th Avenue. Bridge Development bought the site in 2017 for $28.2 million.

Churchill Downs, led by William Carstanjen, is retaining roughly 55 acres at Calder, according to the application.

New York City-based Blackstone is an alternative investment behemoth with more than $650 billion of assets under management, according to its website. It’s led by CEO Stephen Schwarzman. Its Link Logistics subsidiary, based in New York, is a logistics real estate firm with a portfolio spanning more than 3,000 properties, according to its website. Link Logistics is led by CEO Luke Petherbridge.

The South Florida industrial market has prospered from high demand and dwindling supply, largely because of the lack of developable land. This has pushed up occupancies and rents.

In Miami-Dade County, the industrial vacancy rate dropped to 2.9 percent in the first quarter, from 4.2 percent in the first quarter of 2021, according to a Colliers report. The average asking rent for warehouses hit $11.20 per square foot, up from $9.90 per square foot during the first quarter of last year.