Developers compete to turn downtown Miami parking lot into potential multi-building mixed-use affordable housing complex

mpa lot downtown miami
The current MPA parking lot in downtown Miami (Google Street View)

At least two developers have submitted competing proposals to build an affordable-housing complex on what is now a parking lot owned by the Miami Parking Authority (MPA).

Commercial Observer (CO) reported on Jan. 19 that Miami’s largest condominium developer, Related Group and partner ROVR Development, is seeking approval to build a three-tower mixed-use development with 1,200 residential units downtown.

The proposed Related/ROVR development would replace an existing parking lot, College Station Garage, at 190 NE 3rd St. The residential high-rises, between 39 and 48 stories, would be above a new parking lot with more than 1,350 spaces, which the parking authority would own, CO reports.

David Martin’s Terra has submitted a  competing proposal, ROVR’s Rodriguez told CO.

“Terra has come under scrutiny over its alleged role in the Champlain Towers South condo’s deadly collapse,” the publication reported. “Last November, surviving residents and victims’ families sued Terra, alleging their construction of the development next door to Champlain weakened the building’s structure. The class-action lawsuit will head to trial in March 2023.”

In the Related/ROVR proposal, the developers propose to build on the first two floors either spaces for public services — a 20,775-sq. ft. urgent care center, a 13,909-sq. ft. fire station, and a 3,950-sq. ft. art center — or a retail-heavy component with 50,339 sq. ft.

The developers say they plan to fund the construction through tax-exempt bonds issued by The Housing Finance Authority of Miami-Dade County or Florida Housing Finance Corporation, in addition to 4 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and developer and partner equity.

“We believe we’re at an inflection point in Miami, and that we have a crisis of affordability on our hands,” ROVR Development principal Oscar Rodriguez told CO. “The individuals that have spent a larger part of their life working 50 hours a week are the backbone of our society, and they should be afforded an opportunity to also live in the central business district.”

The developers have proposed generating more than $1.2 billion in revenue for the MPA through a 99-year ground lease. They have offered to pay the MPA “10 percent of project’s annual net cash flows after repayment of equity and an 8 percent preferred return.”

If the MPA selects Related and ROVR, Rodriguez expects negotiations for the ground lease to close within the next 120 days. Construction would commence during the first quarter of 2023 and conclude in the following 60 months.


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