The Weekly Dirt: It’s go time for Live Local projects

Developers have been analyzing legislation’s FAR, property tax and parking incentives

Weekly Dirt: It’s Go Time for Live Local Act Projects
Gov. Ron DeSantis (Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed long-awaited amendments to the Live Local Act into law last week, a relief for developers banking on the changes. 

Senate Bill 328 generally boosts and clarifies developer incentives under the workforce housing law that the Florida Legislature passed in 2023. It took more than two months for the latest bill to make it to DeSantis’ desk in early May. 

In the meantime, developers and their land use lawyers have been hard at work analyzing their sites and project finances to see how and if they can use Live Local in their projects. The laws create tax and zoning incentives for developers if they set aside a portion or all of their projects for residents making up to 120 percent of the area median income for a period of at least 30 years.  

Hundreds, if not thousands of workforce housing units could be built, alleviating the need for housing for the “missing middle.” 

Developer Asi Cymbal told me that Live Local could save him nearly $1 million in property taxes a year, allowing his firm to subsidize the rent at a newly completed 341-unit garden-style apartment complex in Miami Gardens. His firm began building the project before the law, but was able to turn it into a Live Local development midway through. Cymbal said he and his team are examining all of their existing developments to see if they can use Live Local. 

The amendments passed last week do a few things, including clarifying that developers can build up to 150 percent of the highest currently allowed floor area ratio in that local municipality. The latest law also eliminates parking requirements for projects if they’re within a transit-oriented development. That alone is a big deal — parking is super expensive to build. 

One storyline we’ll be following is how the latest bill makes it easier for developers to pursue their projects within cities that have tried to impose restrictions on Live Local developments, i.e. Bal Harbour, Doral, Miami Beach and other cities. 

What we’re thinking about: The condo association at downtown Miami’s Epic Hotel & Residences sued billionaire Amancio Ortega’s firm, alleging it and a separate master association illegally control common areas and approved illegal assessments at the property. Are condo-hotel developments prone to these disputes? Do you have a similar story? Send me a note at kk@therealdeal.com

CLOSING TIME 

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Residential: Spec home developer Todd Michael Glaser and his partners, Jim Randall, Scott Robins and Jonathan Fryd, sold their 28,618-square-foot mansion at 10 Tarpon Isle for $152 million to an undisclosed buyer. It was once asking $218 million. 

Commercial: U.S. Sugar Corp. paid $27.2 million for a 1,346-acre agricultural tract in west Palm Beach County. Costa Rica-based sugar and honey producer Azucarera El Palmar sold the tract, which is east of Brown’s Farm Road and north of Dairy Road. 

NEW TO THE MARKET 

The three-story oceanfront penthouse at Turnberry Ocean Club returned to the market for nearly $29 million. Jeffrey Soffer’s Fontainebleau Development owns the 10,750-square-foot, six-bedroom, nine-and-a-half-bathroom unit at 18501 Collins Avenue. Oren Alexander of Official is the listing agent. It includes a private rooftop with a pool and kitchen; a cabana, gym and staff quarters. 

Weekly Dirt: It’s Go Time for Live Local Act Projects
Artist’s Conceptual Rendering. Courtesy of Turnberry Ocean Club Residences.

A thing we’ve learned 

Environmental triggers like climate change could be contributing to the increasing frequency and intensity of migraines, which affect roughly 39 million adults in the U.S.

Elsewhere in Florida 

  • A drunk driver sideswiped a bus carrying 53 farm workers on their way to a watermelon field in Central Florida, killing eight people and injuring dozens of others, according to the Associated Press
  • Developer Russell Galbut spoke in opposition to a road-raising and stormwater project along First Street in Miami Beach at a city commission meeting on Wednesday, the Miami Herald reports. Galbut, who lives on First Street and owns the building that is home to Papi Steak, said he was against the disruption the project would create. 
  • An alligator that deputies called an “absolute dinosaur” was captured from a path leading to a Pinellas County school, Local 10 reports. It took four people to load the 12-foot-long gator onto a pickup truck. The gator was later released in a safer spot.