By Risa Polansky
Developers of Wynwood's Midtown Miami have pitched to Miami officials the idea of redeveloping the neighborhood around the Orange Bowl in conjunction with the county's plan to build a stadium for the Florida Marlins on the site.
Representatives of Developers Diversified Realty met with city staffers this month to express interest in "creating a redevelopment plan for this venue and surrounding neighborhood," wrote Daniel Herman, senior VP of development, in an e-mail to city officials.
He declined to comment for this article but used the e-mail to "remind" city officials of "our successful joint effort to transform the former FEC rail yard" through the Midtown project.
"This is a fantastic example of a public-private partnership that has revitalized and invigorated a once crime ridden and depressed area," Mr. Herman wrote.
But activists and city officials at a recent City Commission meeting questioned Midtown's follow-through, talking of an expensive and inconvenient automated garage system in a project intended to offer free parking.
According to the letter, the company plans "to spend some of our own time and energy to see if we could offer some suggestions to the city" for the Orange Bowl area, though city officials "have stated that you are not currently working with any developer."
City Manager Pete Hernandez' office said he met with the developers as a courtesy and that it's too "early in the game" to set any plans in motion.
Developing the area could involve taking private property for a private purpose, which is sanctioned by the US Supreme Court.
When the issue of eminent domain involving the Orange Bowl came up at last week's county commission meeting, county officials said no condemnation of private property would be necessary in order to build the stadium.