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Partnering for the Public Good: Private Redevelopment of Public Land

Elise Holtzman Gerson

Bog ImageAt this year’s South Florida Redevelopment Conference, Bilzin Sumberg hosted a number of industry leaders to discuss all things South Florida real estate and development. Bilzin Sumberg Partner Eric Singer spoke with Guy Wilkinson of KPMG and John Dunnuck of Broward College about private redevelopment of public land through public-private partnerships (“P3s”). A number of public entities in South Florida have massive and valuable land holdings, but do not have the capital to maximize the assets' use.

Broward College is an industry leader in seeking private development of these assets to both capitalize on the value of its asset and provide the best possible education for its students. Broward College has two major developments in the works. Both of these P3s are long-term ground leases, mixed-use, and are based on a revenue-sharing arrangement between Broward College and the private developer.

First, Broward College recently completed the redevelopment of its downtown Fort Lauderdale property, creating an urban educational hub that included a mix of uses. Mr. Dunnuck explained that a project of this magnitude takes intensive preparation on the part of the public entity prior to soliciting responses from the private sector. The importance of commercial and economic feasibility analyses of different potential uses on the property and acquisition of stakeholder buy-in cannot be overstated. Further, as Mr. Wilkinson explained, a market sounding process focused on potential developers is a significant and necessary effort to ensure that once the solicitation is issued, the private sector responds and competition is present.

After the successful completion of the downtown redevelopment, Broward College initiated preparation for the redevelopment of its Central Campus. The College is currently negotiating a ground lease with the selected proposer. For both P3s, Broward College utilized a two-step process where it first requested qualifications from proposers, shortlisted the candidates, and then received additional proposals before selecting one with which to move forward. This allowed the College to thoroughly vet developers and ensure that it both had the resources to carry out the P3, and that the project would be most beneficial to its students. Broward College will continue to look to P3s to redevelop its existing assets to keep up with constantly-evolving technology and the need for more flexible use of space.

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