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Prehistoric settlement could impact completion of building

In previous posts we have touched on some of the issues that could potentially arise where commercial real estate is concerned. While in many cases it is possible to anticipate those issues and take steps to head them off, in other situations they come out from out of the blue. A $600 million mixed-use development in South Florida is currently facing that situation.

The issue is that the construction has uncovered a prehistoric settlement located on the building site. According to an archaeologist working on a historical analysis of the site, artifacts uncovered date back to 500-600 B.C. He also said it is perhaps the “best-preserved prehistoric town plan in eastern North America.”

The discovery of the ancient village could greatly impact the development going on in Miami. Though a building containing both residential and retail space is supposed to be constructed on the site, as the city has not yet signed off on the plans, its future of the real estate could be in doubt. The developer is understandably eager to complete the building as work on the complex has been going on for more than 10 years.

The developer’s lawyer is working to find a solution to the issue. He recently shared the developer’s proposal to take a portion of the limestone bed and reconstruct a replica of an ancient home that once sat upon the piece. Whether this plan will move forward depends on how Miami's Historic Preservation Board, views it. Should the board be unsupportive of the plan, the issue would need to be resolved another way. In any event, it is likely that the assistance of lawyers is proving to be very helpful.

Source: CNN, “Questions of preservation after ancient village found in downtown Miami,” Matt Smith and Justin Lear, Feb. 5, 2014

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