Miami-Dade County is soliciting proposals for an ambitious redevelopment of Miami’s downtown MetroCenter, aiming to transform 17 county-owned acres of the 28-acre complex into housing, retail, commercial and government spaces in a project that could cost $10 billion, officials say.

The county is looking for a single master developer for a public-private partnership to develop the site over the next 12 to 15 years, according to the draft request for proposals.

In a presentation Aug. 10, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava called it one of the biggest ideas ever in Miami-Dade County.

“We are looking forward to making this the benchmark for urban redevelopment worldwide,” Cava says.

Up to five short-list proposers will be selected in the first phase once the final RFP document is released in mid-September, according to the presentation, including a roughly 600-page document of design guidelines. According to Dodge Data & Analytics, a master developer for the project will be selected in 2024.

Rita Silva, chief of P3 and innovative procurement for Miami-Dade County Internal Services Department, says $10 billion is an initial benchmark for what a developer could spend on construction costs for vertical buildings. 

That figure, used to understand the project's potential impact, she says, will be refined as planning for the development progresses. The county anticipates issuing the final RFP the week of Sept. 12.

Currently, the county’s Government Center is home to more than 3 million sq ft of county-owned office, courts, parking and retail space, of which 1.1 million sq ft are located on the proposed development site, according to the RFP.

The proposed development site could support between 17 million sq ft and 23 million sq ft of new development, it says, to complement the uses already in the larger Government Center footprint.

“It will be a major asset,” Cava says. “It will become a focal point of downtown and recenter county offices as the hub of innovation.”

Among examples of the county’s vision given in the presentation were Hudson Yards in New York City, the Salesforce Transit Terminal in San Francisco and Umeda Kita in Osaka, Japan.

A new transit terminal with a direct link to Miami’s Metrorail are among the must-haves, according to the county, as are at least 2,000 units of affordable and workforce housing, 2.5 acres of connected open spaces and new public library and museum facilities. New county commission chambers and offices are part of the scope, as are a childcare center, educational space, parking, juvenile assessment center and more.

“Right now, we have a seat of government that’s not a neighborhood,” said Commissioner Eileen Higgins at the Aug. 10 presentation. “We need to flip that dynamic so it becomes a neighborhood where government is integrated.”

Higgins described the project area currently as “kind of a wasteland” but said the county has “some of the most valuable property certainly in the county, probably in the world,” noting its close proximity to public transportation and a multitude of jobs in downtown Miami.

“There’s a real opportunity to basically completely reimagine the place,” she says. “Pretend nothing is here other than the historic courthouse.”

According to the RFP, the development site is currently branded as MetroCenter, part of the larger 28-acre seat of county government, and will be subdivided into parcels where improvements are planned.

Those 11 subdivided parcels include a 3.1-acre parcel of excess government land, a 3.3-acre cultural center and 1.9-acre, 284,230-sq-ft garage.

“The land that we, the county, have is the people’s land, and it needs to be used for the people’s purposes,” Higgins says.