JULY 22, 2013


Once again, the Miami City Commission is poised to give a valuable piece of city property away to some politically connected folks. 

I’ve written in the past about the efforts to give away alleys in Commissioner Sarnoff’s and Commissioner Spence-Jones’  Districts.

This time it isn’t an alley, but an actual city street, and it’s in Commissioner Francis Suarez’s District, who coincidently has collected $15,000 in contributions to his Electioneering  Communications Organization from Magic City Casinos and West Flagler Associates.

Just like my story last year about the alley giveaway that was opposed 5-1 by the City’s Plat and Street Committee, this effort was opposed by the City’s Public Works Department and by the Plat and Street Committee 0-7 on October 4, 2012.

Somehow that didn’t stop Nzeribe Ihekwaba, the Director of Public Works from starting a letter he wrote to  West Flagler Associates on October 10, 2012,

        “The City of Miami Plat and Street Committee, at

        it’s meeting of October 4, 2012 approved the above

        tentative plat subject to the following revisions being

        made to the tentative plat...”

You just cannot make this stupid shit up!

Anyhow, at this week’s Commission meeting item PZ.4 is up for a vote.

Now, when I write these stories about the giveaway of streets and alleys, my purpose is to illustrate just how this City Commission - and no doubt the City Commissions before I came along - treat valuable public property as little more than tokens to be given away to big-time campaign contributors or politically connected developers - pretty much the same crowd in Miami.

This particular piece of property, besides being a working street that provides access to folks who live east of 37th Avenue, is also a very valuable piece of property, which if it were to become available on the open market would fetch at least $170-$250 thousand or more dollars.

The reason being provided on the application for requesting the street be given to the Magic City folks is “to permit commercial development to service neighborhood.”

That’s not really accurate, because here is what a letter from the Holland & Knight lawyers representing the Magic City folks says is that:

The piece of property highlighted above is identified below in the Property Appraiser’s records as a 49980 square foot vacant lot.

The same piece of property is valued at $844,074, or $16.90 a square foot.

Now, let’s look at the street.  It is listed as being 10,049 square feet.

If we calculate that the property that makes up the street is worth the same amount as the vacant lot, then the market value of the street would be $169,828.10.

Here is page 2 of the Vacation and Closure Application that details how much money the city is going to collect

Servicing the neighborhood is a little different that servicing the “growing number of visitors” who show up at the Casino across the street.

However, the important stuff as always is to follow the money.  In tis case, the money trail is about establishing the market value of the street, and how much the city plans to receive from this transaction. Here’s how that works out, based on documents from the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser’s Office.

First, here’s an aerial view of what the street, and the surrounding area looks like.  NW 4th Terrace is the street in play.

As you can see, it says the cost per square foot is $2.00.  That would come out to $20,098.

If the market value of the property is $169,828.10, and the city at best can only collect $20,098, that represent a net loss of market value to the city of $149,730.10 for a piece of property that is not just a vacant lot, but an actual working city street.

In fact, I think that given the obvious need of this property to connect the two pieces that the Magic City Casino folks already own makes this piece of property worth considerably more than $16.90 a square foot.

How many police cars, or how many other items that the city is currently unable to buy could be purchased with $149,730.10?

The City of Miami continues to be behind the Eight-ball financially, and the persistent efforts by Tomas Regalado and the 5 Dwarfs on the City Commission to give valuable property away to a handful of developers and/or deep pocket contributors is indicative of just how self-serving and questionable, if not downright sleazy the process  has become.

The argument is not to sell the street to the Magic City Casino folks, it is to sell them the street at a fair market value, and not to just give it away for chump change!

It’s Miami, Bitches!


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