Mayor Levine Cava vetoes industrial megaproject outside UDB

Decision follows commission approval for developers Stephen Blumenthal and Jose Hevia’s South Dade Logistics & Technology District after five tries

From left: Mayor Levine Cava, Stephen Blumenthal, and Jose Hevia with a rendering of the planned industrial complex outside the Urban Development Boundary
From left: Mayor Levine Cava, Stephen Blumenthal, and Jose Hevia with a rendering of the planned industrial complex outside the UDB (Coral Rock Development, Aligned Real Estate Holdings)

Just as developers Stephen Blumenthal and Jose Hevia scored pivotal approval for their industrial megaproject, a new thorn emerged for their plans.

On Thursday, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava vetoed commissioners’ decision to expand the Urban Development Boundary to include the nearly 400-acre site where Blumenthal and Hevia want to build their project.

The UDB, a greenbelt of wetlands, farmlands and otherwise vacant land, is meant to prevent encroachment of new construction toward the Everglades and Biscayne Bay. Any efforts to expand the UDB to allow for development has proved controversial throughout Miami-Dade’s history.

Blumenthal and Hevia’s bid to build the South Dade Logistics & Technology District pitted commissioners against each other, as well as pro-development residents against environmentalists. It took the developers five tries this year before commissioners granted their request on Nov. 1.

Levine Cava’s veto was anticipated, as her administration has consistently opposed the project, insisting that there is enough developable industrial land inside the UDB and that South Dade Logistics would necessitate costly infrastructure expansion.

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In her veto message, Levine Cava also brought up flood risks, especially in light of Hurricane Ian. She also struck back at the developers’ insistence that the project would be an economic boon for south Miami-Dade, creating jobs for the community.

“This application prioritizes short-term financial gain — with no guarantee of job creation — at the expense of our shared economic prosperity and our precious natural environment,” Levine Cava said in an emailed veto message.

Commissioners approved the project in an 8 to 4 vote. Commissioners can still overturn Levine Cava’s veto at their next meeting on Tuesday, as long as all eight commissioners who previously voted in favor of the project show up and choose to override the veto.

Blumenthal, principal of Coral Gables-based Coral Rock Development, and Hevia, president of Miami-based Aligned Real Estate Holdings, want to build South Dade Logistics on the southeast corner of the Florida Turnpike and Southwest 122nd Avenue

In a statement to the Miami Herald, the developers said they “look forward to the veto override vote.”