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Front Page » Top Stories » County Pushes For Barter Payment For Downtown Land

County Pushes For Barter Payment For Downtown Land

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Written by on December 21, 2006

By Dan Dolan
Using land swaps and joint ventures to help cushion a cash crunch, county officials are pushing for a quick close on two big real estate deals that would help revitalize downtown Miami and provide permanent parking for the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, Assistant County Manager Roger Carlton said this week.

While the county is interested in acquiring land for parking garages on the north side of Knight Concert Hall and the west side of the Ziff Opera House, Mr. Carlton said, the real estate could be prohibitively expense.

To offset the cost of the northside deal, he said the county is willing to trade the current downtown bus terminal plus cash for a 1,600-car garage that would be built at Maefield Development’s planned City Square retail and residential project, which includes a slice of the Miami Herald’s parking lots.

For the westside project, which would create a total of 700 parking spaces, Mr. Carlton said the county would build a 200-unit garage for valet parking on part of a lot it owns on Northeast 12th Street. The remaining one-third acre, he said, would be sold to Charleville Development Corp. as the site of a new high-rise.

As part of the deal, Charleville would dedicate 500 slots in a 1,000-car garage on Northeast Second Avenue to the performing-arts center. The other spaces would be used to provide parking for a hotel and condo that would be built at the site.

"These garages will be extremely costly because of land values," Mr. Carlton said. "So one of our methods to offset the cost is to trade property. But we haven’t arrived at a dollar figure for any parcel yet.

"These projects are not mutually exclusive," he said. "We are trying to do them both. We’ll be working through the holidays to try to bring this together."

If the northside deal goes through, Mr. Carlton said, the bus terminal would be moved to the MetroMover’s western station. If either negotiation dies, he said, the county still has the option of trying to build on land owned by the board of education. That property, he said, could handle 1,000 cars.