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Front Page » Real Estate » County cuts $4 billion West Dade development deal with developer Terra

County cuts $4 billion West Dade development deal with developer Terra

Written by on June 22, 2021
County cuts $4 billion West Dade development deal with developer Terra

Miami-Dade and developer Terra have agreed to early terms of a project near Dolphin Station that is expected to yield the county more than $4 billion over a century.

Commissioners June 15 approved a 97-year contract with the Miami firm for construction of Upland Park, a mixed development to span 43 county acres where the Dolphin Expressway and Florida Turnpike intersect in the unincorporated Beacon Lakes area.

Terra will pay all costs, including $20 million to integrate Dolphin Station into the 3-million-square-foot project, which will feature offices and retail, 1,700 apartments, a hotel, school and science facility, according to county Chief Operations Officer Jimmy Morales.

The development and lease agreement will generate $1.17 billion for the county, which will collect $3 billion more in real estate taxes.

Terra CEO David Martin said by email Tuesday that Upland Park will have 200,000 square feet of retail and create “thousands of jobs.”

Lobbyist Brian May, speaking for Terra June 10, said the project will have 1,837 residences. Some will be marketed to military personnel stationed at the US Southern Command in Doral, and Terra will try to offer others at workforce rates, he said.

“The intent of the project is to keep the development cost relatively low so we can offer a project targeted to those defined as workforce – 80% to 140% of the area median income,” he said. 

Terra agreed to a $1 million deposit to guarantee it will permit and finance the project, plus a non-refundable $4 million development fee.

The firm’s next step is to submit design and construction packages to the county’s Internal Services Department, which will determine “appropriate small business program measures.”

Mr. Martin said his firm will provide more specifics, including a construction timeline, in “the coming months.”

The project will feed and connect with the East-West Corridor, a planned rapid bus route to run from Miami International Airport to West Miami-Dade on the Dolphin Expressway.

Few other details are available now, including how the project will impact area traffic. No traffic study has been done.

That’s a major concern, Commissioner Joe Martinez said.

But commission Chairman Jose “Pepe” Diaz, who sponsored the deal, said a traffic study will be done before Terra gets a 90-year lease for the property and shovels enter the ground.

“I would not allow any project of that magnitude without the proper streets widening to be done,” he said. “Trust me. It’s in my district.”

Mr. Diaz called Upland Park “a type of legacy project” for him and commissioners. “It’s something I’m very proud of,” he said.

By approving the deal, commissioners were allowing platting and rezoning to begin, Mr. Morales said.

“It’s during that phase that typically [those] kinds of traffic studies [are done],” he said. “The developer is going to have to show how it’s going to address, mitigate, whatnot.”

Mr. Martinez asked Assistant County Attorney Bruce Libhaber to confirm that the county could escape the deal if the traffic study proved discouraging enough.

“Once the camel’s nose is under the tent, it’s very difficult to later backtrack because the first thing they’re going to say is, ‘You approved it June 15,’” he said.

Mr. Libhaber assured him the county still had flexibility.

“This is not the lease yet,” he said. “This is the development.”

9 Responses to County cuts $4 billion West Dade development deal with developer Terra

  1. Elliot

    June 23, 2021 at 1:20 pm

    At least it’s a start. It’s well past time for Miami To develop and expand it’s western frontier. All that available real estate should not be left to mosquitoes, alligators and pythons. Miami’s visions of future developments are there. let us pursue those dreams and bring them to fruition.

    • Arthur J. Lieberman

      July 12, 2021 at 11:10 am

      I don’t think so Elliott.

  2. Bill W

    June 23, 2021 at 4:24 pm

    This reminds me of $97 million loan for the Stadium that yielded $1 Billion in just 30 years. My dog could get better terms than that.

    Even a Dade County High School graduate could see this is a bad deal on the surface. Let’s dig a little deeper and see who pays for the infrastructure etc…

  3. N.P.

    June 24, 2021 at 8:18 am

    Simple solution to the traffic issue, don’t provide insane amounts of parking. This is a Transit Oriented Development after all, parking should be kept to a minimum as people should mostly rely on the nearby transit or car share.

  4. Cynthia

    June 24, 2021 at 5:49 pm

    West Dade County is already overtaxed on infrastructure, water will be scarce, certain flooding of roads, traffic: a hassle, more property taxes for another new school and need for police, fire, medical.

  5. Alberto Santos

    June 24, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    Interesting….where is our expanded train system!? Spend the money on a train traveling east to west…!? Seems to me another Political Project!!! Way to go!!!

  6. Juan

    June 24, 2021 at 10:07 pm

    I agreed with Elliot,,I got some little ones on my side ,family,I want them to live in a big city,,west best than east ,structurally buildings will be stronger,,blessings to those into that accident in Miami Beach building that collapsed,,

  7. Roy

    June 29, 2021 at 8:54 pm

    To Elliot, the previous person that posted about Miami expansion.

    Jut letting you know that here in Miami we like our alligators, swamps and mosquitos just fine. You can stay in NY if don’t like it so.

    Let’s hope this is not a gigantic housing project in Miami Dade’s only distant suburb.

  8. Fidel Perez

    July 25, 2021 at 10:17 am

    This same Miami-Dade politicians voted to divert $3 Billion of the taxpayers money to the Marlins Stadium. Part of the $3 Billion went to demolish the recently renovated Orange Bowl. Scammer Jeff Loria put $1.2 Billion of the taxpayers money in his pocket as he sold the Marlins to a new group of scammers.