Miami Board Preliminarily Designates Related’s Brickell Development Site as Archaeologically SignificantJuly 14, 2023
In a recent decision, the Miami Historic & Environmental Preservation Board voted unanimously to grant a preliminary archaeological designation to a portion of Related Group’s development site on Brickell Avenue. The resolution was approved during a meeting on Tuesday, and the board is expected to vote on the final designation in November. Related, a Miami-based developer led by Jorge Pérez and his sons, Jon Paul and Nick, has expressed no objection to the initial location of the site at 444 Brickell Avenue.
Related Group has ambitious plans for the area, including constructing a 75-story luxury condo tower branded by Baccarat at the adjacent site on 77 Southeast Fifth Street, along with an apartment building. They have also planned a third tower for the property at 444 Brickell Avenue, which presently houses an office building with restaurants.
It’s important to note that the board’s decision regarding the archaeological designation does not directly impact the future of Related’s planned project, the permissible construction, or the requirements for displaying the discovered artifacts. This designation has become a contention among preservationists due to the significant archaeological findings made during the property’s excavation over the past few years. The excavations have unearthed artifacts, human remains, and animal remains dating back 7,000 years, making them among the most noteworthy discoveries in the vicinity of the Miami River’s mouth in over two decades.
The delays and uncertainties associated with the final archaeological designation have proven costly for Related, which has already commenced pre-sales for the Baccarat Residences condos. In January, the company secured a construction loan of $164 million from Truist Bank for their apartment project—a 44-story, 506-unit rental tower.
During the recent meeting, Related’s attorney, Iris Escarra of Greenberg Traurig, successfully negotiated a resolution that permits Related. Its tenants are to carry out interior renovations and repairs within the existing building as long as no excavation is required. This includes activities related to the property’s 40-year recertification.
Members of the public who attended the meeting expressed their support for the archaeological designation, with some urging the city to prevent the property owner from constructing a new tower and instead converting it into a green space. A former City of Miami archaeologist emphasized that the city’s historic sites must be adequately valued. Concerns about the rush to destroy the site and further degrade Miami’s history and culture were raised.
In April, the same board withdrew its proposed archaeological designation for the adjacent site at 77 Southeast Fifth Street. During the recent meeting, South Florida archaeologist Bob Carr provided an update on the findings from that property, describing it as an essential site where incredibly unique objects and artifacts have been discovered, never seen before. The excavation at that location is expected to be completed within a few months.