On March 7, the Miami-Dade County Mayor will be presenting a report to the Board of County Commissioners on County-owned properties in downtown Miami that are ripe for joint development with the private sector. The upshot: the County has at least nine properties, totaling 22.7 acres of land, that can support over 20 million square feet of new development. Through public-private partnerships (P3s) with developers, the County could leverage these properties to acquire new public facilities and generate new revenues.
Due to the massive development potential of these properties, and the flexibility of the P3 model, the County can have its cake and eat it too. The County could, for example, enter into an agreement with a private developer to design, construct, and operate a new public facility on one of these properties–at no cost to the County–and pay the developer with the remaining development rights (for example, a private office tower built on top of a new public building). Under the right circumstances, the County could also receive rent payments, either fixed or a share of revenues, for the private development.
Significantly, the County has received proposals from the private sector for only one of the nine properties at this time. The County could, in the future, solicit development proposals for some or all of the sites. Alternatively, under Florida’s recent P3 statute, as well as under a similar provision of the County Code, developers may jump-start the process by submitting for the County’s consideration unsolicited proposals for the public-private development of the properties. Either way, the County can be expected to put those valuable public assets to productive use in the near future. And P3s, which have been a key focus of the Mayor and the County Commission for some time, can be expected to play an important role.