Miami-Dade approves $100M deal to build auto drivers club

The Miami-Dade County Commission unanimously approved a lease deal Tuesday that will pave the way for construction of a track for a high-end driving club.

South American developer Carlos de Narváez Steuer, through 13 Pista LLC, agreed to lease about 140 acres of the 160-acre site at 20000 N.W. 47th Ave. from the county. The highlight of its project will be a private, two-mile driving course designed by U.K.-based Driven International to replicate the most challenging tracks in the world. The project will be funded by $100 million in private investment.

“This is an exciting day for Drivers Club Miami, for the residents of Miami-Dade County, who will be an integral part of our future here, and for the auto enthusiasts we will soon serve,” said de Narváez Steuer.

The first phase would also include a 28,000-square-foot pit lane clubhouse; a 72,000-square-foot facility for vehicle maintenance, inspections and vocational training; and a 12,000-square-foot center for vehicle storage, retail and restaurants. The second phase would be a 64,000-square-foot hospitality complex with at least 50 hotel rooms, restaurant, bar and spa, plus 12,000 square feet of additional retail, and more vehicle storage space.

Drivers Club Miami would have an economic impact of $224 million, according to the developer. The lease agreement requires it to create at least 220 jobs within five years of completing the first phase.

The developer would lease the 140 acres for an initial term of 30 years at a cost of at least $33.38 million. The leased property, known as the Landmark site, could be expanded by 10 to 15 acres once three nonprofit organizations that currently operate on the property are relocated.

His House Inc., the Center for Family and Child Enrichment, and the Arc of South Florida would all have to be moved off the Landmark site to new locations, at the expense of the developer. The agreement proposes that His House relocate to a new center at 11025 S.W. 84th St., while the other two organizations relocate to new facilities at 16345 N.W. 25th Ave. All of those developments would be constructed and funded by 13 Pista LLC and turned over to the county, which would lease the buildings to the nonprofits.

According to the county memo, 13 Pista LLC would pay $1.98 million in actual rent over the first 10 years, which is considerably less than the market value rent of $13.95 million, based on an appraisal of the property.

However, that difference would be offset by public contributions from the developer, to include:

  • Improving infrastructure on the Landmark site and the two sites where the nonprofits would move at a cost of $15.6 million.
  • Building a $4.21 million, 16,000-square-foot community center with a pool on the Landmark site.
  • Designing and constructing facilities worth $17.5 million for His House, $1.91 million for the Center for Family and Child Enrichment, and $1.75 million for the Arc of South Florida.
  • Paying $140,000 to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue for improvements to a nearby fire station.
  • Building a mile-long public cycling course through the Landmark property at cost of $750,000.
  • Contributing $3 million in funds to nearby Florida Memorial University, which would also have 10 paid summer internships at the project.

“The Drivers Club Miami project is a welcome addition to the North Dade community and will directly benefit the students we serve at Florida Memorial University,” said JoLinda Herring, chair of the board of FMU.

In addition, the developer would be responsible for building a 15,500-square-foot North-Dade Government Center on the Landmark site, although it wouldn’t pay for it. The county would fund the government center with $7.5 million in bond money.

Bilzin Sumberg attorney Al Dotson represented 13 Pista LLC in the deal.

The developer will now start the permitting and planning process with the county. An opening date has not yet been determined.

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