Bids to develop Douglas Metrorail Station due for review
By Paola Iuspa
When Miami-Dade officials on Feb. 22 open bids to develop a site adjacent to the Douglas Metrorail Station it will begin a review process expected to take at least three months.
Miami-Dade Transit, which owns the land surrounding the station, requested proposals from developers to build either a mixed-use or a residential project on the corner of Southwest 37 Avenue and South Dixie Highway, or US 1.
The complex must incorporate the station as part of its design.
"We have not given any specification about what kind of development we would like to see there," said Frank Talleda, spokesman for Miami-Dade Transit. "We want to let the market decide that."
Some developers will have included market analyses in their bid proposals, which were due Feb. 1.
Will Johnson, president of Coconut Grove Village West Homeowners & Tenants Association, said he and other residents would like to see condos or townhouses that people could buy rather than rent.
"There is a need for ownership of affordable housing in this area," said Mr. Johnson, who also works as an aid to Miami-Dade Commissioner Jimmy Morales. "Ownership creates a sense of pride. You have people who get outside to sweep the streets and help keep the neighborhood clean."
The area east of the station is made up of affordable rental housing and some residents have complained the streets are always littered despite the city's maintenance.
The site for the project consists of about 7.1 acres, including the station and a parcel for a planned pedestrian bridge crossing South Dixie Highway.
Developers could include the bridge in their design or not, Mr. Talleda said.
They could earn additional points if they propose to redevelop a parcel across from the station and east of US 1 that is home to the Coconut Grove Service Center. The 25,488-square-foot center on about 2.2 acres is the county's satellite office for the community.
Those who offer to redevelop that site as well would have to include in their design 25,000 square feet of office space for the county to use for free. The lease for the entire project would be for 30 years with an option for renewal for two additional terms, according to a county document.
Prospective developers who offer a bigger share of revenues will also gain more points in the bidding process. As in a joint venture, Miami-Dade is asking for an annual guaranteed rent, which the developer would have to start paying as construction begins over a period not to exceed three years. After that, an annual guaranteed stabilized rent reflecting the fair value of the property would be paid to the county until the lease expires. In addition, the developer would pay 5% of gross revenues.
The winning proposal will be the one that scores the highest in a 120-point system based on such factors as the quality, feasibility, market demand, schedule of completion and aesthetics.
A selection committee could take about three months to make a decision, Mr. Talleda said, and Miami-Dade commissioners could vote on it by June. Because the site is within the City of Miami, the developer also needs design approval from the city.
The complex would sit contiguous to a new Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Authority facility. The 175,000-square-foot building is on land owned by Miami-Dade Transit, said Raul Masvidal, whose company, Raul Masvidal Partners Inc. was hired to develop the $30 million-office building, he said.
Mr. Masvidal, also bidding to develop the available lot near the Metrorail station, said the Rouse Co. of Maryland hired him to build the water department site after Rouse bought its former site from the City of Coral Gables. That land was part of 20 acres needed to build Rouse's proposed Village of Merrick Park.
The Douglas Road joint development project is part of the county's joint-development initiative in which the county leases Miami-Dade Transit zones adjacent to Metrorail stations to developers to build revenue-producing projects that can promote Metrorail use.
There are about 10 stations with mixed-use complexes planned or now under construction including ones at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza, Brownsville, Dadeland North and Dadeland South stations.