Miami-Dade County

Long stalled, South Miami Metrorail development clears hurdle

Miami-Dade commissioners on Tuesday cleared the way for a long-delayed development of the South Miami Metrorail station that could result in a significant loss of parking spaces there.

Tied up in negotiations, litigation and scandal since the 1990s, the development deal would bring commercial and residential development to the county rail station off U.S. 1. Both sides blamed the other for the stalled development, which at one point was going to include a new county housing office. On Tuesday, commissioners unanimously approved a legal settlement that includes higher rent from the developer to help resolve the litigation and a larger footprint for the project.

Part of the agreement includes letting developers build out a 760-space parking garage attached to another 1,000-space garage at the station. Alice Bravo, head of Miami-Dade’s Transportation Department, said the potential loss of the garage was part of the original deal, but that the parking facilities aren’t busy enough to cause concern. Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava raised the issue Tuesday, saying “we are losing parking spaces that have been used by transit riders.”

Gus Machado, owner of a chain of auto dealerships in Miami, now controls the entity that struck the South Miami station deal in the 1990s, Hometown Station Ltd. The project was launched by Miami developer Raul Masvidal, who was briefly jailed on criminal charges related to county housing funds connected to the project. Last year, a judge dismissed the charges.

Machado and his team still must secure approvals for the planned development.

This post was updated to clarify the outcome of Raul Masvidal’s criminal case.