Developers Eye Miami-Dade School Board HQ, Surrounding Land

A half-dozen developers — including a few big names — have interest in a revived School Board plan to potentially sell or redevelop close to 10 acres near downtown Miami.

The six parcels include the School Board’s administrative headquarters and the WLRN studio, three parking lots, a parking garage and a building on Biscayne Boulevard that houses the iPrep Academy.

The collective value of the land, just to the north of Interstate 395 and the Adrienne Arsht Center, is listed by the property appraiser at about $28 million.

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said he initiated a competitive process two months ago to gauge interest and — with soccer star David Beckham reportedly considering some of the property for a soccer stadium at the time — to force potential bidders to go through a formal process.

Beckham and his investors have since turned their attention to Museum Park. And while six groups responded, Jack Lowell, senior managing director of Flagler Real Estate Services, expected to see more interest. “I would have expected more developers,” said Lowell, who is active in School Board construction business.

Still, high-profile developers Related Development and SC Investment Holdings, an affiliate of Epic Hotel developer CMC Group, were nevertheless on a list provided Thursday by the school district two days after The Herald requested the information.

‘It’s a strategic location there in the Omni District, and it’s developable vacant land,” said Related Development CEO Steve Patterson, noting that the company has only rough plans for the site. “It’s a complicated puzzle because there are a lot of different parcels and development restrictions.”

Patterson also pointed out the land is on the outskirts of Edgewater, one of the hottest residential estate markets in Miami.

He said Related is, for now, just angling to get on a School Board short list in the case the district decides to pursue the idea further, a decision expected to come next month. In addition to Related and SC Holdings, four development groups formally expressed interest in the land: Edgar Jones & Company; Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services; Suffolk Construction; and Pininfarina of America Corp. and P3 Real Estate.

“There’s varying degrees of interest,” said Carvalho, noting that the proposals remain confidential under School Board policy until the superintendent makes a recommendation to the board. “I can’t get into any more details.”

But the point of seeking bids was to see what developers would do given flexibility, including the option to buy the land or partner with the district. If Carvalho and his staff like what they see, they could recommend that the School Board seek proposals for a specific project.

Lowell, who sits on the committee that oversees the district’s bond-funded capital projects, said there have been talks for years about rebuilding the area and working with the Performing Arts Center. He said its likely the School Board would only look to redevelop its headquarters, rather than sell, but anything was possible with its vacant land.

“There’s an opportunity to do something creative,” he said.

Source: Miami Herald

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