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MIAMI BEACH, FL-The city is negotiating with an affiliate of Equity One Inc. to buy a 28,780-sf office building mired in a public-takings action.

Last year, Gazit (Meridian) Inc., an affiliate of the North Miami Beach-based shopping center REIT, sued the city, alleging it devalued the site’s property value by enacting prohibitive land-use ordinances. The class B, mixed-use office-retail property, built in 1950, has 11 tenants at 1701 Meridian Ave.

The company has assembled four separate parcels, including the office building, with the intent of redeveloping to the 1.2-acre site. It is fairly certain, however, the REIT and its affiliate will be asking substantially more than the $970,000 it paid in 1992 to acquire the building that is adjacent to the Miami Beach City Hall and not far from the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Just five months ago, for instance, the city agreed to settle an eminent domain action filed by American Riviera Real Estate Co. over a 12,500-sf parcel of vacant land located near the Gazit (Meridian) property.

In that case, American Riviera accepted a settlement of about $1.5 million, or roughly $120 per sf. That figure did not include additional terms that included $225,000 in court costs and $245,000 in legal fees.

Although he didn’t talk about any possible terms, Deputy City Attorney Robert Dixon tells GlobeSt.com the city is proposing a settlement with Gazit (Meridian) because it needs the site to accommodate a growing city government.

“We’ve agreed to settle the lawsuit, because we desire and need the building and the parking lot,” Dixon says.

“It completes the block for us and enables us to put up a parking garage and to expand our administrative facilities so we don’t have to put our various disciplines out in other facilities that are currently leased.”

Dixon says the city will need more administrative office space over the next five years to accommodate anticipated growth.

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