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MIAMI-Florida East Coast Industries Inc. apparently is considering offers on an undeveloped 54-acre industrial site currently leased by the Port of Miami for container storage.

The Miami-Dade County Seaport Department is asking permission to order unscheduled appraisals on what some commercial real estate sources consider the last large contiguous piece of developable industrial land within the Miami city limits.

“Upon conclusion of the appraisals, the department will work with the FEC to determine a fair acquisition cost, while reaching out to the adjacent communities for their input on the proposed project,” Miami-Dade County Manager Steve Shiver advised in a memorandum sent to elected county officials, who will decide Tuesday whether to grant the seaport request.

Brokers tell GlobeSt.com it is difficult to get an immediate indication of land values in this largely industrial area north of Downtown, because properties surrounding the site contain a mixture of industrial, light manufacturing, retail and even multifamily use under liberal commercial zoning ordinances.

However, a search of county property transaction records by GlobeSt.com found one property, 13,800 sf of vacant industrial land just south of the 54-acre site on Northeast 29th Street, sold last December for $110,000 or $7.97 per sf, for instance.

Further to the south along Northeast 27th and 28th streets, a buyer acquired seven parcels in July totaling about 61,250 sf for $710,000, or about $11.59. However, about 20% of the total square footage contained improvements.

If those property sales are any indicator, the county may be facing an estimated purchase price ranging between $18 million to $27 million.<pThis is not the first time the Jacksonville-based diversified holding company has considered offers on the rail-accessible site at 100 N.E. 36th St.. H. Wayne Huizenga, as former owner of the Florida Marlins professional baseball club, reportedly once considered development of a stadium on this site, southeast of North Miami Avenue and Northeast 36th Street.

Timing of the Seaport Department request comes as its lease with the Jacksonville corporation is scheduled to expire on Dec. 31.

“At this time, future and final use of this property, also known as the Buena Vista site, has not been decided,” Shiver writes in his memo. “However, it is important to the Seaport Department to conduct an appraisal of this property should FEC place the site on the market for sale. Accordingly, FEC and the county have entered into a non-binding letter of intent expressing our mutual interest in negotiating this transaction.”

It has been less than a year since the Seaport Department last ordered appraisals on the site as part of a regularly scheduled review process that occurs about every three years. GlobeSt.com was unable to obtain information from the most recent appraisals, or from the Seaport Department’s existing lease with the Jacksonville corporation, prior to this article’s deadline.

Officials at the Jacksonville-based corporation referred all questions to the Seaport Department, where a spokesperson said the official most knowledgeable about those appraisals was unavailable for comment.

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