Projects tap Economic Development Fund
Written by Susan Danseyar on March 22, 2016
County staff is starting to negotiate with the next two projects in line to share in $75 million of Economic Development Fund grants as projects ahead of them failed to qualify for the money.
Downtown Palmetto Bay Development, first in line for re-allocated grants geared to create jobs, and Project Mercy Neuroscience Center, second, won approval for $7.5 million each, pending negotiations.
Proposed changes for earlier grantees of projects considered extraordinary in local economic and job development, which result from objections by most of them, wouldn’t alter the intent of the voter-approved Building Better Communities General Obligation Bond program, said Leland Salomon, Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources deputy director.
One change is payment of grants in six equal disbursements rather than a lump sum. Another would allow two jobs classifications: direct and indirect. Each job is defined as a permanent, full-time equivalent position requiring 36 hours weekly.
Budgets, plans and specifications are now required for all infrastructure projects as well as proof of ongoing ownership and/or control over improvements.
Three of the eight development projects already approved for the grant funds – Miami Wilds, River Landing and Carrie Meek International Park – have informed the county they are ready to proceed but require additional time.
Miami Wilds, in line for a $13.5 million grant, must secure site control and is currently negotiating a lease. Carrie Meek International Park, slated for a $13.5 million grant, is negotiating a new development on the property that could change the project description and jobs requirement.
River Landing, approved for $7.5 million, had a problem with mortgage financing and a lien was placed on the property. According to Mr. Salomon, the issue has been solved but the county is waiting for documents to be filed before going forward.
The other projects already approved to negotiate for portions of the $75 million are Westview Business Park ($7.5 million), Orion Jet ($5 million), Skyrise ($9 million), Larkin Health Center ($5 million) and Overtown Gateway ($6 million).
These are under Economic Development Fund Project 124, with a total allocation of $58.5 million. That doesn’t include $6 million granted to the City of Miami for the renovation of Flagler Street downtown, $500,000 that hasn’t yet been rescinded for Aviation Corporate Hanger (which didn’t respond to the county’s original grant agreement) or $10 million for Miami Ocean Studios that the county commission voted March 8 to rescind.
There are six approved developments under negotiation for Economic Development Fund Project 320, money aimed at supporting projects in targeted urban areas.
These include Urban Health and Wellness Group for $2.8 million, Sunshine Plaza 79/Miami Merchant Mart for $2 million, Miami Design District NE Second Avenue for $2 million, Wynwood Plaza for $3 million, Seventh Avenue Transit Village for $2 million and South Dade Multi-Modal Transportation for $1.5 million, which the commission approved March 8.