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  • Writer's pictureFrank Landrian

Miami Dade County delays vote on overpriced buildings.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY ‘Back to the drawing board.’

Miami-Dade mayor backs off pricey building purchases.


Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023, delayed seeking County Commission approval of two real estate deals to create new government centers in suburban parts of the county: one in South Miami-Dade and in West Miami-Dade. AL DIAZ Mayor Daniella Levine Cava on Tuesday backed off her plan to spend $133 million above market value for two aging office complexes after county commissioners objected to revelations of the pricey deals in a battered commercial market. “We want to work on getting some better terms,” said Anthony Rodriguez, the commission vice chair who sponsored legislation to authorize one of the two deals in the $365 million real estate package that would create new South Dade and West Dade government centers. READ MORE: Miami-Dade mayor pushes to pay $133 million over market value for old office buildings Commissioners agreed to a last-minute Levine Cava request to remove the legislation for the building purchases from Tuesday’s agenda. “The request is to provide the administration more time so that the administration is to go back to the drawing board and negotiate better terms,” County Attorney Gerri Bonzon-Keenan told commissioners before the unanimous vote to defer the items. The Miami Herald on Monday reported the West Dade deal relied on a “hypothetical” market value that county appraisers created for the 1974 office complex on 9250 W. Flagler St. that has only about 25% of its space rented. Miami-Dade County would transform an office complex on Quail Roost Drive into the new South Dade Government Center. Photo courtesy of Miami-Dade County While two appraisal firms said the actual value of the six-story building was $110 million, about 46% below Levine Cava’s proposed purchase price of $205 million, the companies also produced “hypothetical” values at the administration’s request on what the property would sell for if fully occupied. Under that artificial scenario, the value was $191 million — just 7% below the negotiated price for the property once used by Florida Power and Light. The administration also proposed paying above market value for a 1982 office building at 11222 Quail Roost Drive that would replace the South Dade Government Center about two miles away. Appraisers put the average value of that 620,000-square-foot building known as the Assurant Center at $122.5 million, 24% below the proposed price of $160 million. Office buildings continue to face challenges as work-from-home trends have employers downsizing their rented work spaces, though some reports show commercial rents defying national trends in Miami. In an interview, Levine Cava said her administration is willing to go back to negotiations seeking a better price and that perhaps the public dust-up over the contracts will let Miami-Dade secure better terms. But she said she was confident the original deals made sense for a county seeking long-term space in the suburbs to better service residents. Miami-Dade County would turn a former FPL operations center into the West Dade Government Center. Photo courtesy of Miami-Dade County The West Dade center would house a larger “one-stop” permitting center that includes more agencies needed to start construction or major repairs, while the South complex would clear the way for redevelopment of the existing government center into a mixed-use community. “We’re going to regroup and talk with the commissioners some more and address their concerns,” Levine Cava said. “But we’re not giving it up. We believe it ultimately saves money and provides better services closer to the community.”

DOUGLAS HANKS 305-376-3605

Doug Hanks covers Miami-Dade government for the Herald. He’s worked at the paper for nearly 20 years, covering real estate, tourism and the economy before joining the Metro desk in 2014.

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