February 14th, 2024 – South Florida Business Journal

Swerdlow Group has responded to a solicitation from Miami-Dade County to redevelop public housing sites in Little River with a proposal for over 7,500 apartments, along with commercial space.

In 2023, the county issued a request for proposals (RFP) to rebuild and expand four public housing projects in Little River, including Victory Housing. These communities were built in the 1940s and 1950s, so they are overdue for upgrades. In recent years, the county has inked deals with developer to rebuild and expand public housing, often combining affordable housing with market-rate units and space for businesses.

Coconut Grove-based Swerdlow Group responded to the RFP in November and, so far, it’s the only developer to submit. Its development would cover 62.9 acres by combining two four county properties with privately-owned land belonging to AJ Capital.

Nashville-based AJ Capital has been buying up land in Little River since 2021. It would partner with Swerdlow Group on the project. Miami-based Arquitectonica is the architect on the proposal.

Spread out over three locations, the Little River development would have 7,513 apartments, 602,562 square feet of retail/grocery/restaurant space, several parking garages and 4.7 acres of green space/parks. That would break down to 1,361 affordable housing units, 3,499 workforce housing units and 2,653 market-rate apartments.

The site plan also includes a Tri-Rail station along the railway running through the property. Now that the Tri-Rail passenger rail service extends to downtown Miami, the train now travels east-west through this area. Swerdlow Group stated in would fund $20 million for the passenger rail station in Little River and incorporate it into the project.

The developer declined comment, as its response to the RFP is in the county’s “cone of silence” until a decision is made.

The first of the three development locations would be the 24.3-acre site at 530 N.W. 75th Street, a public housing complex on both sides of Interstate 95. Most of that is owned by the county, although Swerdlow Group said two small industrial sites there are under contract. It aims to redevelop the site with nine apartment buildings ranging from nine to 41 stories tall, the train station, and a commercial center labeled “Home Depot.”

The second site is a collection of properties owned by AJ Capital that currently has a mix of small commercial and multifamily buildings over 26.3 acres. The developers would redevelop much of that property with two 17-story apartment towers and more retail.

Finally, the third site is a large public housing complex at 7150 N.E. 2nd Ave. and 7101 N.E. Miami Court, and a smaller one at 90 N.W. 71st St. – totaling 12.3 acres. Swerdlow Group has proposed redeveloping the larger property with five apartment towers, ranging from 24 to 27 stories, and the smaller property with townhouses.

Officials with the office of Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava didn’t respond to a question about the status of the RFP. It has yet to be scheduled for a hearing before the County Commission.

Swerdlow Group has plenty of experience working on public-private partnership with mixed-use projects. It is currently building the Block 55 apartment/retail/office project in Miami’s Overtown in partnership with the city.

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