Top Boomtowns in America – 2019 Edition

Foot bridges, tunnels to link to Hard Rock Stadium

Written by  on March 12, 2019

Construction linking pedestrians to Hard Rock Stadium is a go, as Miami-Dade lawmakers have granted an aerial easement allowing one of two planned foot bridges to be built over a county-owned roadway in Miami Gardens.

By September – just in time for the onset of the NFL regular season and five months before the stadium hosts Super Bowl LIV – the bridges over an adjacent Florida Turnpike exit and Northwest 199th Street (Dan Marino Boulevard) should be done, county, city and project documents show, as should two tunnels under Don Shula Drive.

Bentley Architects & Engineers is designing the new facilities and Condotte America Inc. will build the structures, project senior public information specialist Tasha Cunningham said, confirming that construction began on-schedule in January.

No county consent was needed for the Turnpike bridge, she added, because it’s not a Miami-Dade right-of-way.

Funding will come from an agreement between the Florida Department of Transportation and the city.

County commissioners approved the overhead allowance last week, close to three years after Miami Gardens’ city council voted 6-0 to urge state transportation departments to “provide and expedite funding and permitting” for construction.

The city resolved to not pay for any of the projects’ costs – about $17.86 million for designs, construction, inspection and the city’s administrative expenditures – with its involvement “limited to facilitating the funds for the project and executing funding agreements.”

At the time, Hard Rock Stadium – then Dolphin Stadium – was undergoing $450 million in privately funded renovation.

The landmark sports site, projected to host about 2 million visitors and generate more than $13 million in sales tax revenues for the state, remains the largest sports and entertainment complex in the county.

Wave of redevelopment engulfs North Miami Beach

Written by  on March 12, 2019

A wave of redevelopment spurred by zoning changes enacted by the City of North Miami Beach has ushered in new market-rate housing, expanded commercial development, and even the prospect of a Brightline station.

“It’s our time,” said Mayor Anthony F. DeFillipo. “We’re extremely excited and expect phenomenal things to take place in the next three to five years.”

Founded as Fulford-by-the-Sea in 1926, North Miami Beach is sandwiched between North Miami, Miami Gardens, and Sunny Isles Beach. Aventura and Golden Beach are to the northeast.

“In 2015, city leaders took a fresh approach and identified seven key areas to rezone for development,” said a recent release by the city. “The impact was immediate and developers flocked to North Miami Beach. Lazul, a 350-unit apartment building, and The Harbour, a 425-unit condominium, opened last year. The Highlands, a 60-unit condominium, is nearing completion.

“More projects are in the pipeline, including a recently approved master site plan containing 1,600 apartments, a school, retail and office space at the intersection of West Dixie Highway and Northeast 159th Street; and the approved 1 million-square-foot mixed-use Uptown Biscayne project with 160,000 square feet of retail, 40,000 of office space, and 249 apartments at the site of Dean’s Gold strip club,” at 2355 NE 163rd St.

The initiative is so successful, the release said, that its North Miami Beach’s Planning Department is exploring the prospect of making zoning changes to the rest of the city.

“One thing that motivated us was the boom we saw going on in neighboring cities like Aventura, Sunny Isles Beach and North Miami,” Mr. DeFillipo said. “We took advantage of that wave by rezoning in a way that encourages new development, and the rebuilding of older structures.” In some sections of the city, buildings were 92 years old, he noted.

Most of the new developments cluster in the eastern part of the city, near the Biscayne Boulevard corridor and the Intracoastal Waterway, but some renovations are happening in parts of the city that are further west, he said.

“We have well-planned developments in the inner city, where it really counts,” Mr. DeFillipo said. “We’re also working on quality-of-life issues, fixing the sidewalks, things like that, to tie it all together.”

One of the areas to be improved is along the western side. “We’re working diligently with our Asian population to create and support a Chinatown district,” he said. In 2016, the city council approved plans for a dedicated zone comprising 16 blocks of commercially zoned land along Northeast 167th Street between the Golden Glades interchange and Northeast Sixth Avenue. The master plan was approved in late 2017.

The area is to be complete with parks, green space, bike lanes and rooftop gardens, along with pagodas, canals and an entrance inspired by the Ming Dynasty.

“We’re working with the county on having a Brightline station” should the high-speed trail roll out commuter service,” Mr. DeFillipo said. “We’re one of several cities that want a station, and we’re looking at two possible locations. We don’t know the details yet, but we believe there will be one here.”

The Brightline station would connect with the city’s system of three free trolleys, created about 2½ years ago. It’s among the most successful in Miami-Dade County, ridership having grown from 80,000 to 183,000 per year. There’s also a system of bike trails and bike racks.

“North Miami Beach is really taking an interest in traffic congestion, which exists on every roadway in Miami,” the mayor said.

The new buildings have brought in millennials and others who haven’t historically been part of the population base. The mayor said he expects the number of residents, which stands at 47,500 now, to be significantly higher when the 2020 census is counted.

“We are on the map,” Mr. DeFillipo said. “People are taking an interest in North Miami Beach, and it’s an exciting thing.”

Full-court press on AmericanAirlines Arena naming rights

Written by  on February 26, 2019

Talks are ongoing for naming rights to what is now American-
Airlines Arena, says Dan Wall, Miami-Dade’s chief liaison to county sponsorship agent The Superlative Group.

“They are actively discussing the matter with multiple corporations,” he said Monday, adding that the county is “going to exhaust all options” to get a deal before the current contract expires Dec. 31. “The plan was to reach out to American Airlines first.”

Miami-Dade sold 20-year naming rights to American for $42 million ($2.1 million yearly) starting when construction ended in 1999.

Miami Heat sister company Basketball Properties Ltd., which manages the county-owned arena, collects $6.4 million a year from the county plus $2 million for the naming rights. The county’s share is $100,000.

In a new deal from Jan. 1, 2020, to June 30, 2030, with a 10-year renewal option, according to a memo from Deputy Mayor Ed Marquez, Miami-Dade will pay Basketball Properties $2 million a year and keep the rest. New naming rights, he wrote, would bring in at least $6 million a year.

But that total should be higher, said President Mike Gallagher of The Superlative Group, which gets 5% of the county’s naming rights rate, which will include an annual increase based on the consumer price index – a new condition.

In 2016, Oakland, whose Golden State Warriors have the seventh-highest NBA attendance, signed a 20-year, $300 million naming deal with JPMorgan Chase. Last year, Atlanta, whose Hawks had the worst attendance, sold 20-year naming for $175 million.

The Miami Heat had the sixth-highest attendance, over 625,000 tickets, according to box office tabulator Pollster, which ranked AmericanAirlines Arena sixth in the nation, 18th globally.

“We missed the Big Three era, where we really could have cashed in,” Commissioner Joe Martinez said. “We should capitalize on it [now].”

Boardwalk Properties seeks sale of South Beach apartment portfolio

104-unit portfolio expected to trade for $27M, or $260K per unit, brokerage says
By Katherine Kallergis | March 14, 2019 09:45AM

A portfolio of more than 100 apartment units in South Beach is hitting the market and is expected to sell for $27 million according to Cushman & Wakefield, The Real Deal has learned.

Boardwalk Properties owns the six renovated properties at 1501 Michigan Avenue, 1100 10th Street, 942 Lenox Avenue, 1606 West Avenue, 1135 Eighth Street and 1521 Michigan Avenue, property records show.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Calum Weaver, Perry Synanidis, Robert Given, Zachary Sackley and Troy Ballard are marketing the Lux South Beach portfolio, according to a release.

Boardwalk Properties made headlines in 2016 when it paid $59 million for a 15-property, 240-unit portfolio of apartments, also in Miami Beach. Boardwalk is only looking to sell one of the buildings it acquired in 2016, a 12-unit, 7,200-square-foot building with apartments averaging 600 square feet.

The other properties that are now being listed for sale include:

  • 1501 Michigan Avenue: 36 units, 17,527 square feet
  • 1100 10th Street: 20 units, 10,605 square feet
  • 942 Lenox Avenue: 18 units, 12,670 square feet
  • 1606 West Avenue: 12 units, 7,800 square feet
  • 1521 Michigan Avenue: 6 units, 3,812 square feet

Boardwalk invested $7 million in capital improvements for the Lux South Beach portfolio, including installing impact windows and doors, new electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems, new kitchens, updated bathrooms and new washers and dryers. The properties, built between 1945 and 1969, are 98.1 percent occupied.

Weaver said in the release that the units could be converted into condos by a new owner.

Boardwalk Properties, a Miami Beach-based company owned by the Gober family trust and Adam Walker, owns multifamily buildings in South Beach, North Beach, Bay Harbor Islands, Fort Lauderdale and Davie. In December, it paid $119 million for a nearly 400-unit apartment complex in Davie.

Steve Wynn’s Opportunity Zones meeting with Treasury Department officials raises eyebrows

The federal program could have helped Wynn defer or reduce his tax bill from the sale of Wynn Resorts
March 14, 2019 01:00PM

Steve Wynn is a fan of Opportunity Zones, too, evidently.

The disgraced casino mogul met with Treasury Department officials last June to discuss the federal tax incentive program for developers, just as the agency was writing new rules for the program, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The news comes amid rising criticism that the Opportunity Zones program will only benefit big investors and developers, rather than the low-income communities and residents it was designed to aid.

Wynn, who was forced to sell his stake in Wynn Resorts last year because of widespread sexual misconduct allegations, had a $2.1 billion tax bill from the sale. The Opportunity Zones program could have helped him defer and reduce those taxes, according to the Journal.

Wynn attended a meeting in the Treasury Department building in Washington with Daniel Kowalski, a counselor to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who was helping write Opportunity Zones regulations, the Journal reported. Mnuchin greeted Wynn at the meeting.

A former Treasury official said Wynn was trying to get an interpretation of the law that he did not get, according the Journal.

Wynn had needed to invest in an Opportunity Zone fund by September 2018, if he wanted to take advantage of the tax benefit, the Journal reported. [WSJ] — Keith Larsen

Miami-Dade ethics commission dismisses complaint against Beckham group

Two lawsuits against the city of Miami are still pending
By Katherine Kallergis | March 13, 2019 06:00PM

The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust dismissed an ethics complaint tied to Miami Freedom Park and Miami Beckham United’s plan to build a multimillion-dollar mixed-use complex with a Major League Soccer stadium.

Attorney David Winker filed the complaint days before Miami residents were set to vote on a referendum that would allow the David Beckham-led group to begin negotiating a lease for a portion of the Melreese Country Club site. In the complaint, he alleged that the developers failed to register as lobbyists before asking commissioners to place their proposal on the ballot.

Voters approved the referendum in November, waiving competitive bidding for the property. The city and Miami Freedom Park LLC, an entity that includes the soccer star, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure, and brothers Jorge and Jose Mas, is now in negotiations over a 99-year lease for part of the Melreese property, just east of Miami International Airport.

Both sides declared victory on Thursday.

“My complaint … forced the Beckham lobbyists to disclose who they worked for and who the owners of Miami Beckham United LLC and Miami Freedom Park LLC were, information that the public is entitled to,” Winker said in a statement. “It also brought out in the open the problems in the current lobbying registration system and how hardly anyone is complying with these laws.”

Jorge Mas, managing owner of Inter Miami CF, called on the ethics commission to sanction Winker “for filing this baseless complaint that was fueled by a political agenda” and for wasting “government time and resources in a failed attempt to derail the will of residents,” he said in a statement.

A Miami-Dade County ethics inquiry found that lobbyists in the majority of the county’s municipalities were not following county law by failing to disclose the identities of people or entities who own 5 percent or more of the corporations they are representing “due to the poorly formatted forms,” according to the Miami Herald.

Winker, meanwhile, filed two lawsuits that are still pending against the city of Miami over the stadium plan. One is centered around the lobbying issue, alleging that that Beckham and his partners only registered as lobbyists after he filed his complaint, and the other focuses on the ballot language that was used in the November referendum.

The Miami City Commission is set to consider a resolution forcing a vote on the lease before November’s municipal election. That would require approval from four of the five city commissioners, and two have opposed the deal.

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