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By Julia Echikson, November 3, 2022
Read the original article here.

Projects from Stephen Ross, Don Peebles and Barry Sternlicht are up for a vote

Real estate is playing a major role in the upcoming midterm election on Tuesday, Nov. 8, thanks to a slew of ballot initiatives involving real estate developments in Miami and Miami Beach.

The Lincoln Road offices (Miami Beach)

Another referendum involves two office projects further south in Miami Beach, near Lincoln Road. Prominent developers Don Peebles and Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Capital Group want to build competing office projects near the pedestrian mall and cash in on the island-town office craze. Miami Beach is sprouting boutique office projects — Michael Shvo has three in the pipeline; former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is backing another — thanks in part to the billionaire migration during the pandemic.

Starwood Capital Group, which moved its headquarters to Miami Beach in 2018 and completed its headquarters on the island last year, is seeking to build two mixed-use buildings, at 1688 Lenox Avenue and 1080 Lincoln Lane North on parking lots owned by the city. Starwood is working with partners Integra Investments and The Comras Company, both of which are based in the Miami area.

Their proposed development, up to 100 feet tall, would feature office space, ground-floor retail (including 1,000 square feet leased to a nonprofit rent-free) and a public parking lot to replace the existing surface lot.

On Ballot Question 6, voters will decide whether to greenlight the mixed-use projects by agreeing to a 99-year ground lease for the 0.86-acre site, which is expected to bring in at least $210 million in revenue for the city.

Just three blocks east, at 1664 Meridian Avenue, Peebles is seeking approval for a similar development, along with two partners, local developer Scott Robins and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine. The six-story building would include Class A office space, 43 market-rate residential apartments, ground-floor retail space, and public parking to replace the existing 151 spots.

Like Starwood, the developers seek a 99-year ground lease for the 0.4-acre parcel, which is expected to rake in $145 million for the City of Miami Beach. Voters can approve or block the project by voting on Ballot Question 5.

Miami Beach residents will also get to decide how to spend the rent revenue collected from the two proposed office projects, estimated to total $355 million over 99 years. Ballot Question 4 asks voters whether the funds, divided equally, should go toward “resiliency and sustainability infrastructure initiatives, workforce housing, and public safety and prime prevention measures” without providing details.