Miami Circle Project
This site is located at the mouth of the Miami River and was the subject of much controversy – most of it at the state and national level – in 2000, due to the existence of artifacts dating back to the Tequesta Indians, who are believed to be the initial settlers of this area some 1,700 years ago. These artifacts were discovered as part of this site intended for development with a project containing two, 15-story residential towers to be developed by Michael Baumann, a prominent Miami real estate developer. Prior to finding sacrificial remains during site preparation, the developer had received all city approvals, construction financing, and an executed construction contract to build two high-rise luxury residential towers containing 600 units. Because of the archeological significance of this site, the developer was sued for control of the property at the local, state, and federal levels. Because the developer would have been deprived of realizing his profit for obtaining approvals for the development, he stood to lose a substantial amount of profit. Mr. Laskody was hired as an expert witness as part of the property owner’s defense team, along with other experts that were charged with the task of determining how much profit the developer would be entitled to as part of these eminent domain proceedings and ensuing litigation. At this time, both the multi-family rental and condominium markets were extraordinarily healthy – and because the developer had not yet decided if his project would be a rental or a condo development – it was necessary for Mr. Laskody to conduct myriad technical real estate analyses, most of which included a detailed and comprehensive Discounted Cash Flow (“DCF”) Analyses of what the proposed project could be worth – both as a ‘stabilized rental apartment property’ and a ‘for-sale condominium property.’ The developer had initially acquired the property in 1998 – then a two-story apartment building complex – for approximately $8.50MM and had spent an additional $2.0MM on the demolition of these existing improvements, soft costs, permitting fees, entitlements, and approvals. Because of Mr. Laskody’s contribution to this case, the developers were seeking ‘just compensation’ of $50.0MM. In November 1999, Mr. Baumann finally agreed to sell the parcel to the State of Florida Preservation 2000 program for $26.5MM, and in the process – due largely to the analyses conducted by Mr. Laskody – realized a $16.0MM profit for never constructing the luxury units and walking away from the site.