Stop The Developer Discount, Vote No On 11A2 May 7th

Great news, Miami-Dade is selling land at 70% off! But not to you. Why do a successful local developer and America’s 12th biggest corporation deserve to buy public land at a steep discount? It’s another Bad Trade For Dade developer giveaway.

On May 7th, Commissioners will vote to convey 17 acres of land owned by the Water and Sewer Department (WASD) to the Swerdlow Group to construct a Costco (5/1 UPDATE: Now on the May 7th BCC Agenda as Item 11A2.) The location is designated to host a maintenance facility to provide rapid service restoration and disaster response to South Dade neighborhoods. Two commercial appraisals have valued the WASD properties at roughly $31 million.

Commissioners have two options to transfer the property: a cash deal or a land swap. The cash offer includes a $7.177 million cash payment, a $1 million contribution to the county’s septic to sewer fund, and for 15 years, a $100,000 annual payment to a community benefit program. This package leaves up to $20 million (!) of value on the table, money that could pay for improved transit, police and firefighters, or help to fund for a permanent solid waste solution. Bad deal!

The land swap option may be even worse The alternative property offered to the Department sits outside the Urban Development Boundary in a low-lying Coastal High Hazard Area where new building is strongly discouraged, especially public infrastructure. The location would require major site improvements at taxpayers expense. Why on earth would the County put critical infrastructure farther away from service areas, more vulnerable to severe storms, on land requiring expensive upgrades? To top it off, the location has been identified for inclusion in an Everglades restoration program. Bad deal!

Costco’s $217 billion in annual revenue proves they know a thing or two about identifying profitable locations. It also shows they don't need a handout. Commissioners must be better stewards of public assets and prioritize public services before big business subsidies. Tell Commissioners to get fair value for the public's land, or vote NO on May 7th.

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