One of two federal government agencies has signed off on the transfer of a pair of multimillion-dollar Miami-Dade County public-housing projects away from Carlisle Development Group, which is under federal criminal investigation.
The Federal Transit Administration gave its OK to assign two major rental-apartment projects, the Northside Transit Village in North-Central Dade and the Seventh Avenue Transit Village in Liberty City, to Atlantic|Pacific.
“Based on the information you provided and the due diligence analysis completed, FTA concurs in the assignment of the two leases to Atlantic|Pacific,” FTA regional administrator Yvette G. Taylor wrote the county transit department on Nov. 27. Atlantic|Pacific will have to accept all the contract terms and conditions previously approved by FTA.
County administrators asked for FTA approval because the two developments have received federal funding. Miami-Dade is still awaiting the go-ahead from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
If HUD also agrees with the transfer, the county will proceed to hand the two transit villages and two other projects, Island Living in Overtown and Lincoln Gardens in Brownsville, to Atlantic|Pacific. The Miami-based builder would take over from Carlisle, which is suspected of defrauding the government by inflating construction costs to receive higher tax credits.
Carlisle had to sell the four projects because it was having trouble getting private financing while under investigation, sources familiar with the company’s agreement with Atlantic|Pacific have told the Miami Herald. The Herald reported about the federal grand jury investigation in May.
In September, county commissioners voted to transfer the projects to Atlantic|Pacific with scant scrutiny into the deal. Atlantic|Pacific will hire 15 Carlisle employees with affordable-housing experience — none of them targeted by the investigation, according to a review conducted after the vote by Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s administration.
Gimenez’s office told commissioners last month that it had not made any negative findings in its analysis, so the deal could proceed once the feds had their say.
The Miami-Dade inspector general’s office is also monitoring the agreement.