Developer drops out of Miami One project over price
By Paola Iuspa
The Related Group of Florida has abandoned plans to develop part of the multi-phased Miami One project destined to sit in the mouth of the Miami River and on one of downtown Miami's last vacant waterfront parcels.
Related, headed by George Perez, was unable to reach an agreement on price with One Miami project's master developer and landowner, said Toni Albanese, Related senior vice president.
This portion of the One Miami project sits between the Hotel Inter-Continental Miami and the Dupont Plaza Hotel. Related was negotiating to buy and develop about 3 of the 9 acres that make up the Miami One Centre project, headed by Ned Seigel, Morris Stoltz and Larry DeGeorge.
Plans call for a $300 million mixed-use development, Mr. DeGeorge said.
"We are selling some of the parcels to developers who are going to do things that match the master development plan," he said.
Miami One Centre bought four city blocks bounded by Biscayne Boulevard Way on the south, Biscayne Bay and the Hotel Inter-Continental Miami on the east, Southeast Second Street on the north and Southeast Second Avenue on the west, for $35 million in 1998, he said.
The Related Group in January won city approval for designs that call for a 29-story office tower, a 38-story residential building, a five-story garage and a 5,300-square-foot restaurant along the river, city documents say.
The approval of a major-use special permit and waiver of a waterfront charter provision that calls for a specific setback between the water and development based on building depth came after two failed attempts before the city commission.
"Negotiations to buy the land and the permitting process were taking parallel courses," Mr. Albanese said.
Related's pull-out left a gap in Miami One's overall plan but another developer will be sought to take it over, Mr. DeGeorge said.
"The way it works is that the developer gets his deposit back and we have the right to keep the design," Mr. DeGeorge said. "We don't know yet if we will use it."
Mr. Perez' plans produced a wall of resistance from neighboring property owners, some of whom appealed the commission's decision within 30 days after the approval.
Barry Davidson, attorney with Hunton & Williams, said his client the Hotel Inter-Continental Miami appealed the ruling because the design would cast a shade over the hotel's swimming pool deck, block views and increase traffic.
Throughout the permitting process representatives of the hotel, the Miami Center and the First Union Financial tower had opposed the design for the same reasons and threatened to appeal any vote favoring the project.
Mr. DeGeorge said the Related Group's deal going sour was not connected with the appeal.
"That," Mr. Albanese said, "had nothing to do" with our decision.