Miami Dade County Community Forum

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A History of Biscayne Landing

The Urban Environment League since about 2002 onward, has long been involved with the cleanup of the former superfund site called Munisport (now Biscayne Landing). The Miami Herald, along with an article, printed this helpful history of the site.

We have yet to see any progress on the cleanup of the toxic plume under the site, which we called for (with Tropical Audubon Society) time and time again. Instead DERM allowed an experimental sugar based underground clean-up pilot study which later was proved ineffective. An above ground system was to be implemented upon the failure of the experiment but as of this writing, we are not aware of any progress.

Miami Herald Time Line on Biscayne Landing/Munisport:

1960s: Plans for Interama, short for Interamerican Trade and Cultural Center, a futuristic theme park serving as a gateway for the Americas.

1970: City of North Miami purchased 350-acre parcel out of the more than 1,000 acres that was originally planned for Interama.

1971: City of North Miami leased property to Munisport to build a recreation center with Olympic pools and golf.

1974: Instead of providing recreation, Munisport began accepting ``clean fill'' and construction debris.

1975: Munisport began accepting solid waste and operating as a landfill.

1981: Landfill shut down.

1982: Environmental Protection Agency places property on Superfund list, as one of the nation's most polluted places.

1999: EPA deems site safe for development.

2001: City solicits letters of interest from potential developers.

Nov. 2002: Development agreement between Swerdlow Group and the city.

Oct. 2004: Original ground lease.

2006: Developer Michael Swerdlow sells his interest in Biscayne Landing to Boca Developers, along with several other South Florida condominium projects.

Mid-2007: Residents begin moving into The Oaks, the first condominium tower built at Biscayne Landing.

Dec. 2007: Boca Developers misses a $17 million loan payment.

2008: Banks negotiate a forebearance agreement with Boca Developers, giving the company a chance to try to pay its debts.

April 2008: City of North Miami approves changes in development agreement to allow construction of 1.2 million square feet of commercial space.

Dec. 2008: Boca Developers misses an $80 million loan payment.

July 2008: Cerberus Capital Management takes over The Oaks I and II after Boca Developers defaults on a construction loan. The Cerberus group had provided equity financing to Boca Developers for Biscayne Landing and other Florida condo projects.

June 2009: Cerberus says it will walk away from The Oaks and turn the project over to iStar Financial, the senior construction lender.

July: iStar files a foreclosure action against BLIA Developers, the Boca Developers subsidiary that developed The Oaks. iStar will take over the 161 unsold condos.

August: Wells Fargo, acting as trustee for a commercial mortgage-backed securities fund, files a foreclosure action against Biscayne Landing. The developer owes $196.3 million in debt to the lending group.

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