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Front Page » Top Stories » Two Consortiums Vie To Lease Develop Airport Land

Two Consortiums Vie To Lease Develop Airport Land

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Written by on October 4, 2007

By Eric Kalis
Vacant land near the Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport attracted interest late last week from only two groups who proposed to lease and develop the property, county aviation officials say.

The aviation department also received a pair of proposals for smaller parcels near Miami International Airport and a non-site specific letter of interest from a group operating as KTR.

Local consortiums TA 137th Avenue Associates LLC and WMD Tamiami LLC submitted bids last Friday to lease 40 acres on the east side of the Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport from the aviation department and develop the site to allow the department to collect rent and a share of profits from whatever users open businesses on the property. The department did not receive proposals for an 83-acre parcel on the west side of the airport.

Phone calls to TA 137th Avenue Associates LLC principal Victor Stosik and WMD Tamiami LLC principal Robert Shapiro were not returned.

Another local consortium, MDIA Associates, LLC, led by Edward Easton, chairman and founder of real estate firm The Easton Group, bid on three smaller parcels to the west of Miami International Airport. A group operating as Hines bid on one of the parcels Mr. Easton’s group is interested in. Attempts to contact Mr. Easton and the Hines principals were unsuccessful.

The aviation department solicited potential private partners with a request for proposal as a means to generate more revenue to offset expenses, said Greg Owens, department real estate management director. When department director José Abreu "came on two years ago he got unsolicited proposals from various entities who wanted to develop at the airport and lease land," Mr. Owens said.

"We decided we had to publicly advertise it to get the best price for the airport, but we took the developers seriously because we have a $6.2 billion capital program. The unsolicited proposals led us to identify what amount of revenue we may be able to realize" from the arrangement.

Properties around the airports are not subject to municipal zoning classifications, but the Federal Aviation Administration reviews the department’s land-use plans and must approve any new development, said Jose Ramos, chief of aviation planning. The parcels up for bid could accommodate commercial, industrial or aviation-related development, Mr. Ramos said.

"Anything aviation-related we would want around runways and taxiways," he said. "Outlying parcels around the roadways could [hold] revenue-generated eating establishments, and there have been thoughts about a hotel."

Department officials are willing to let developers determine the most appropriate uses for the properties — as long as the uses are compatible with FAA requirements, Mr. Owens said. "We know [types of] development that we would consider to be viable," he said.

But "this is what [developers] do. They might see things totally different. This is their livelihood."