Terra, Grass River change plan for Metrorail site

May 1, 2018   |   South Florida Business Journal

By Brian Bandell

Terra and Grass River Property have revealed changes to their plan to build a mixed-use project at the Coconut Grove Metrorail station as they seek to get in line for county bond funding.

GRP Grove Metro Station LLC, an affiliate of the two Miami-based developers, hold a 90-year ground lease signed with Miami-Dade County in 2016 for the 5-acre site near the station at 2780 S.W. 27th Ave. in Miami. The preliminary development plan for Grove Central, filed in January, called for a 206-room hotel and 134,228 square feet of commercial space.


The new vision for Grove Central has scrapped the hotel in favor of apartments.
On May 1, the Miami-Dade Commission will consider placing Grove Station in line for $4.5 million through the Builder Better Communities bond program. The money would reimburse the developer for infrastructure improvements on the site. That application describes Grove Central as 288 apartments and 135,000 square feet of commercial space.


“We want to activate these stations so not only are they used as park-and-ride facilities, but places where people can live and entertain and enjoy a new way of living without having to depend on the car,” Terra President David
Martin said.


Martin said at least 15 percent of the apartments at Grove Station would be workforce housing, meaning they would be attainable for people earning up to 140 percent of the area's median income. There would also be a parking garage with 898 spaces, including about 200 spaces for the public. The developers would make significant improvements to the Metrorail station, roadways and pedestrian paths leading to the Underline linear park, which will be developed underneath the Metrorail.


Martin said he plans to make Grove Station a sustainable project with solar panels, recaptured rain water for irrigation, and other green features.


“We can create the business case to create not only appropriate retail offerings and appropriately-priced residential units but create the beautification of this node,” he said.


The developers are working with Touzet Studio, Beam Architectural Partnership and Walter Meyer of Local Office Landscape Architecture.


The developer’s application for county bond funds said Grove Central would cost $162.3 million, including $14.4 million in infrastructure costs such as relocating two water mains. It would create 959 jobs during construction and 140 jobs upon completion.


The apartment complex would have 192 one-bedroom units of about 550 square feet and 96 two-bedroom units of about 880 feet. It estimates that rents for the one-bedroom units would average $1,705.


Martin said the $4.5 million bond would be a good investment for the county because the project would create a significant amount of jobs and generate millions of dollars in property taxes. In addition, the ground lease would give the county 3 percent of the developer’s gross income.


The taxpayer-funded Building Better Communities bond was passed by voters in 2004, with $75 million of it dedicated to fund infrastructure for private economic development projects. All of that money was previously allocated to development projects, but the county mayor hasn’t awarded all of those funds because some projects have been slow to move forward. If the mayor decides that a project isn’t moving forward and decides to withdraw the funds, that would put Grove Station in line for the money.


Martin said site work is ongoing and he hopes to break ground in late 2018 or early 2019. The project could be completed in about two years, he said.


“Miami-Dade County has been trying to stimulate development on this property dating back to 1998,” Grass River Property President Peter Lapointe said. "Now, 20 years later, we are moving forward with the creation of a true multimodal destination that can be easily accessed by train, bus, car, foot or bike."