There is speculation that the 175-acre lot, located in the corner of NW 107th Avenue and NW 41st Street is under negotiations to be sold. These negotiations are taking place with a company based out of Chicago with offices in Miami.
By: Edda Pujadas
Doral is one of the cities with the most rapid growth in the United States and in the last years it has grown in relation to the availability of empty lots that can be used for commercial and residential developments. Today, there is a lower supply of empty, undeveloped parcels. One of these parcels is the land located in the corner of NW 107th Avenue and NW 41st Street, with an area larger than 175 acres and better known as the “Cow Lot”.
It looks like the famous cows might be saying goodbye to Doral soon. There is speculation that this land is being negotiated for more than $300 million dollars by a real estate company that focuses on the acquisition and development of industrial properties in the central United States and the United Kingdom.
This lot has become a staple in Doral. Even when it is surrounded by gas stations, stores, restaurants, and hotels, it remains undeveloped. It is known as the “cow lot”, because you can always see these animals grazing in the lot.
Until now the lot has been owned by the Lemon family, who has kept it as an agricultural land. The zoning of the lot today is GU or general use, which means that to be developed, there is the need to apply before the City of Doral and request the type of use that the owner would like the land to be turned into.
Logically, this application implies that there must be a development plan and a complete analysis of the area. This analysis includes the type of properties around it, the needs in the area, and the traffic impact, both of vehicles commuting at different times during the day, as well as then number of parking spaces that might be available.
WHAT IS THE OPINION OF THE RESIDENTS OF DORAL?
Facing the idea that the cows might leave Doral and that this lot might be developed, we asked several residents of the City of Doral what they would like it was built in that huge lot and why.
Henri Misri sees it from a purely economic point of view, and he believes it is something very positive because it will bring jobs, infrastructure, and more tax income to the city and all of these will reflect in a higher budget that will allow to continue with improvements in Doral. “I am a person that believes in the development of our cities. This brings progress and quality of life for the community that lives within these cities. Around this, I would like if they build a big shopping center with prestigious stores and that bring benefits to the residents of the area. One of these would be a ‘Super Target’.”
Blanca Lindo showed her concern about the developers building residential units. “If they build buildings or houses, which is the most probable situation because there is a big demand for these, we will have more traffic in Doral, more pollution, and less green areas.”
Donatella Ungredda was surprised about the possibility of this lot being sold. “Since I arrived at Doral, more than 20 years ago, every time I went by this piece of land, and I could see the cows brazing quietly. This provided me with a sense of calm and comfort that contrasted with the traffic in Doral which already seemed chaotic since that time. What would I like for them to build there? I would like them to build something that allowed for the people to meet and interact, and not the regular “shopping center” with small food businesses that are bankrupt in one year.
“It would be great to have a place where people could walk, meet, where you could have a theater or artistic activities but in the outdoors during a specific time of the year, and if the space is big enough, some type of mixed development with housing, commercial spaces, and spaces dedicated to seniors, who are the ones that have less options for entertainment and socialization.”
Mercedes Leon would love to have a high-end shopping center built in this area, with coffee shops and restaurants surrounded by gardens and seating areas. “Truth is that I would not like for them to build any more houses, we are already saturated with houses and apartment buildings. We need more entertainment and recreational areas.”
Luis Salcedo thinks that the commercial or industrial traffic can be much worse than the residential traffic for which there are a lot of complaints. “For example, I believe that a group of buildings with few stories would be beneficial to satisfy the huge demand that there is in Miami and Doral nowadays.”
Julio Rios said that it would be great to have a cultural and sports complex that would include a decent-sized concert hall, a water sports & recreation area, and maybe a central library for Doral. Why? Because that is exactly what Doral is missing to become a self-sufficient city in all aspects. We still depend on large concert venues outside of Doral, like the FIU Arena or the Arsht Center. On the other hand, we lack a water recreation center or a decent pool complex.”
Alfonzo Bolivar considers that this land could be used to build an open complex like Merrick Park in Coral Gables, Mizner Park in Boca Raton, or Avalon in Atlanta, with exclusive stores, residential units, and hotels. “I would particularly add the incorporation of a good theater where the cultural development could improve, this at the best style of Broadway and that allows us to bring shows to Florida. This will also generate new jobs for the development of the city.
He added that Doral is a cosmopolitan city and because of the proximity from Doral to the Miami International Airport, it attracts a lot of foreigners. “We are practically the city that works as the gateway between Latin America and the United States, and its multicultural population makes it an attractive city, such as the nearby shopping centers that attract thousands of people every year. This is the reason for which I believe that an exclusive shopping concept could attract more tourists and increase jobs.”
Antonio Soprano considers that the sale of this land is an opportunity to build a karting track in Doral, where children and young people could practice this sport that is so underdeveloped in our city. “In May there will be a Formula 1 event in Miami, this is an excellent opportunity to promote this activity that will help as entertainment and also to attract tourism into the city.”
Ana Piccone considers that this is a very large land, and she would love that they develop a plaza with restaurants and walking paths to share with the family, a children’s playground, a skating rink, and an area where they rent horses, for example. “Something county-style in the city where you could go for a walk, to eat, relax, and entertain without the need to drive a lot of miles.”
Antonia Arias is in favor of nature, for this reason, she states that “if they are already going to take the cows away, they should build a botanical garden, full of trees, lakes and open spaces where the people can not only enjoy the vegetation but also learn about fauna and flora.”
Our survey provided us with diverse opinions, but many of the residents in Doral agree in their request for open spaces, even when in different shapes, where they can entertain and share with family and friends.