Indiana firm seeks city funding for parking garage
By Deserae del Campo
An Indiana company is asking for $200 million in tax-increment funds from the Omni and Southeast Overtown/Parkwest community redevelopment agencies to help finance a parking garage, project infrastructure and beautification plans for Northwest/Northeast 14th Street.
Maefield Development plans to build the City Square retail center with 695,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a 4,300-space parking garage with 1,500 spaces connected to the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts and three condominium towers with 1,500 units to be completed in 2012.
The project would be built on parking lots at the Miami Herald building.
Jim Villacorta, executive director of the redevelopment agencies, said there is "no way" Maefield will receive $200 million. "Not everyone will get anywhere near the amount they are asking," he said.
The funds would be available from a tax-increment bond, but "it depends on whether Miami-Dade County will extend the lives of the redevelopment agencies for another 30 years," said Mr. Villacorta. "This is very preliminary right now."
City and county officials are negotiating an extension of the Omni and Southeast Overtown/Parkwest agencies to 2027.
Property values in the Omni and Parkwest areas have been capped since the agencies were created. Tax revenues from property value in excess of the base-year value are deposited into the agencies' trust fund and can be spent only in the redevelopment area.
Maefield submitted its proposal in a July 22 committee hearing at which developers, residents and landowners appeared with about 20 projects requesting tax-increment funds, Mr. Villacorta said.
Among them was Rolando Montoya, president of Miami Dade College's Wolfson Campus who asked for $10 million for renovation of the Freedom Tower.
Maefield officials say they are asking for the funds because of "increasing construction costs and high land prices."
In an Aug. 8 redevelopment committee meeting, members tried to prioritize the projects into low, medium and high categories but decided to give the projects to Miami's Department of Capital Improvements for review and recommended rankings.
A meeting is scheduled for Sept. 5 to discuss the projects further. The proposals must eventually be reviewed by Miami-Dade County commissioners, who have final say in project funding.
Maefield Development must get rezoning approval from the Miami City Commission before getting a building permit. A special meeting is scheduled for Sept. 7 on the rezoning request.