Writer: Joshua Andino
2 min read 2022 — South Dade may soon receive its very own industrial hub.
Developers are looking to build the South Dade Logistics & Technology District (SDLTD), a new industrial, transportation and logistics hub just outside of the Urban Development Boundary (UDB).
The project, led by co-applicants Aligned Real Estate Holdings, LLC and Coral Rock Development Group, LLC, highlights the increasing demand for industrial space in Miami-Dade County, even as the region experiences record-low vacancy rates and industrial rents continue to climb. Stephen Blumenthal and Michael Wohl, principals of Coral Rock Development and leaders on the project, believe the demand warrants the construction.
In an interview with Invest:, Blumenthal explained e-commerce trends accelerated by the pandemic have created further opportunity for industrial development. “As a result of the pandemic, there has been an evolution in the economy. You’re seeing that the Amazons, Costcos and Walmarts now need big distribution and logistics facilities. There is no land left in Dade or Broward County to accommodate this critical mass of users,” said Blumenthal.
SDLTD would be a 793-acre park located south of Florida’s Turnpike, north of S.W. 268th Street and between S.W. 122nd Avenue and S.W. 107th Avenue. The 793-acre expanse would be built out over three phases in 10 years and sits primarily in county-designated Urban Expansion Area (UEA) 3, just beyond the county’s Urban Development Boundary (UDB). In 2018, the county removed all environmentally sensitive lands and designated the UEA to be used exclusively for light industrial development. The county will have final approval. Approval will require two-thirds of votes by the commission to expand the UDB to allow for the site’s development. The commission will have the final say on whether or not the project is developed at the current proposed site, and a hearing is scheduled for May 19.
Critics of the UDB expansion and development argue that the industrial park will cause further damage to Biscayne Bay and surrounding wetlands. Hold The Line Coalition, a community group organizing against the proposed development released an independent analysisopens PDF file that anticipates the project will flood local residential areas, pollute the sensitive bay and lead to increased seawater leaching of Miami’s already precarious underground aquifer. Hold The Line’s assessment concludes that the project fails to meet county and state requirements, as well as industry best practices.
Developers disagree. Jose Hevia, CEO of Aligned Real Estate Holdings, LLC and co-applicant on the project, believes that the SDLTD will both create jobs and protect the environment. “Despite what opponents want the public to believe, it is a false narrative to say we must choose between job creation and protecting the environment,” Hevia said with the Miami Herald. “We can and will do both.”
“The two most important goals for protecting the Bay are to improve the timing and quality of the water discharging to Biscayne Bay from the coastal canals. The SDLTD will eliminate farm field discharges and retain the rainwater on-site with a modern, eco-friendly stormwater management system,” Hevia explained to the Miami Herald.
It is anticipated that the SDLTD will create thousands of jobs in the area. 80% of Miami Dade County’s industrial space is located north of S.W. 8th street and closer to Doral, nearly 25 miles from the proposed SDLTP site, noted Hevia’s team. Traffic relief would be a boon to the area, as South Dade and Homestead continue to see strong residential growth as Miami’s core becomes increasingly expensive.
“I was a part of the team that applied to have the UDB expanded to include the Beacon Lakes Industrial Park in Doral, so I’m familiar with opponents cherry picking and distorting information,” Hevia said. “The arguments against the SDLTD are nearly identical to those launched against Beacon Lakes 20 years ago.”
Coral Rock Development’s Michael Wohl said in an interview with Invest: that the project, with jobs close to home and in an affordable neighborhood, would provide the final piece to the community. “It’s a place where housing is affordable, mostly single-family and townhouses, and all of the major players are there, but there is no business space. People are commuting upward of an hour-and-a-half to their workplace,” said Wohl. “We’re creating the epicenter of business activity for South Dade. It should create upward of 17,000 jobs, great paying jobs, and we have excellent political momentum from that. We’d love to be successful financially, but it’s very important to us that we also do something important for the community.”
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