Miami’s new city government office building may rise next door to the new Miami Freedom Park, soon home to David Beckham and partners’ Major League Soccer stadium and a commercial park.
Meeting today (6/9), the city commission is to consider a vote to select the 1550 NW 37th Ave. site for the administrative building.
This location is generally where the Melreese golf course clubhouse sits, on part of the land to be remediated and redeveloped by Miami Freedom Park LLC, adjacent to Miami International Airport.
If approved, the resolution directs City Manager Art Noriega to negotiate an agreement with Lancelot Miami River LLC to develop the city administrative building at the Melreese site.
A background memo says: “The City Commission has determined that the Melreese Site is the preferred and ideal location for the city’s new administrative building and wishes for the city manager to negotiate and bring back for commission approval such amendments to the existing agreements with Lancelot (Adler) to proceed with the construction of the city’s admin building at the Melreese Site.”
Lancelot, an affiliate of Adler Group, has an existing deal with the city to develop a large private mixed-use development on the city’s riverfront property and adjoining land Adler owns.
After years in the works, the city commission chose not to pursue a plan to have the administrative building erected next to its current headquarters Miami Riverside Center at 444 SW Second Ave., on the Miami River downtown.
City officials in 2015 said Miami Riverside Center was “functionally obsolete” and needed replacement. They said the building was not the “highest and best use” of the waterfront site.
In seeking proposals for a new office building, city leaders decided to offer up the riverfront site to a private developer, for sale or lease.
Two proposers showed interest but, in the end, only Lancelot Miami River remained.
In July 2018, Adler representatives presented a development plan to the city commission that included a hotel on the river, along with about 37,000 square feet of stores framed by three to four towers, and improved public access to the water.
To accomplish this, Lancelot sought a long-term lease with option to buy the city-owned property at 444 and 460 SW Second Ave.
A key part of that deal was construction of an office complex for the city.
The city charter requires voter approval of the lease or sale of city-owned waterfront. Voters approved the question.
In January 2019, on a 3-2 vote, the commission selected the adjacent site to construct an office facility, but that plan never advanced.
At a meeting of the city’s Urban Development Review Board in July 2021, an Adler representative said the city was considering other options to construct an administration building and Adler, through affiliate Lancelot, was moving ahead with its own stand-alone residential tower on its private land near the river, at 230 SW Third St.
By working for years on the city partnership, Adler delayed construction on its own building north of the river after promising to build the government office building first.
The new private residential tower planned by Adler/Lancelot is to be called Nexus Riverside and include 428 dwellings in a 36-story tower.
The background memo notes the commission’s April 28 decision to lease the city-owned golf course next to the airport to Miami Freedom Park LLC for the soccer stadium, commercial development and new public parkland.