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MIAMI-In a bid to maximize the use of surplus land, the Miami-Dade County Commission is expected today to approve a plan that would create multi-million dollars in commercial development opportunities around five passenger-boarding stations on the Metrorail light-rail transit system.

The commission asked county staff last month to put out bids for developing the county-owned land at the Culmer, Brownsville, Douglas Road, Northside and Okeechobee Metrorail stations. The county is trying use its surplus land for the highest and best use.

Since the first project approved in 1982, the county’s Metrorail joint-development program has encouraged a number of high-density projects. The first joint-development project resulted in the creation of the Datran Center, a mixed-use development at the Dadeland South station that now contains more than 550,000 of class A office buildings in three buildings, a 305-room Marriott Hotel and a shared-use parking garage containing more than 1,000 space for Metrorail passengers.

Several other joint development projects ensued, or are in negotiations, to build joint-development projects at the Metrorail stations of Dadeland North, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza, Overtown/Arena, Santa Clara and South Miami.

The new bid program comes as the county recently abandoned negotiations with a joint-venture partner to build a mixed-use project at the Okeechobee station. The developer submitted an alternative development proposal that called primarily for multistory, multifamily construction instead of a prior plan that proposed a mixed-used commercial-residential project.

Under the proposed development terms, prospective joint-development partners would be competing for lease terms not to exceed an initial period of 30 years, with options to renew for up to two more 30-year terms.

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