Miami ponders new City Hall and administration HQ at Melreese Park

The city of Miami might one day operate out of the Melreese Golf Course.

An item on Thursday’s agenda for the city commission would have the city manager negotiate the construction of a new administration building on the western edge of the Melreese property. It would move the future site of Miami’s headquarters from a parcel next to the Miami Riverside Center to the future site of the controversial Miami Freedom Real Estate Park.

Some think this means the city could become the first tenant at Freedom Park, which still has no tenants identified. It’s a rumor that started before the lease agreement was approved in April. But Ladra’s sources say the city is looking at an area within 58 acres or so that are not part of the MFP development.

Basically, where the clubhouse is.

No matter. This would still benefit the Miami Freedom Park developers by providing a captive audience customer base of 800 to 900 daily commuters — and about 100 visitors a day — who would eat at restaurants and stop to buy strappy sandals or scented candles or whatever is offered at the retail stores. And they will all need somewhere to park. The city may even lease a number of parking spaces at the soccer stadium garage when it’s not in use, which will be a lot.

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City offices have to go somewhere so the Adler Group can turn the three acres of underutilized property where the Miami Riverside Center is now, 444 SW Second Ave., into a waterfront residential mixed-use project, providing public access to a new multi-level restaurant complex and an expanded public Riverwalk. They were supposed to go to a brand new facility built at an Adler-owned property at 230 SW Third St., where they were also going to build workforce housing.

About 64% of voters approved this in a 2018 referendum. And it’s been on hold because one thing changed since the referendum: Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla was elected. Las malas lenguas say he isn’t getting what he wants from the developer so the zoning applications are basically held hostage. Without him, Adler does not have the votes. Commissioners Joe Carollo and Manolo Reyes voted against putting it on the ballot in the first place.

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Adler Group was selected after an open, transparent request for proposal was issued by the city, which wants more modern digs. They would get a 99-year lease on the MRC building for about $4 million a year, where they developers would build 800 residential units, plus retail and restaurants,

Lancelot Miami River, a company affiliated with Adler, also got the option to purchase the property from the city for $70 million. But it was unclear before the meeting if that purchase can happen before 10 years after the city vacates the premises.