Liberty Property Trust - Miami International Tradeport

A 125-acre former concrete tailing disposal pit in Miami-Dade County that was once considered to be too difficult to redevelop is beginning a major transformation. The first phase of the Miami International Tradeport, a $135 million, nine-building warehouse and distribution development on the site, is anticipated to open its doors before the end of 2013. 

Contractor Butters Construction and Development broke ground in early 2012 on the 147,840-square-foot warehouse facility. The LEED-certified building will feature impact glass that will allow natural lighting throughout the facility as well as be equipped with T-5 lighting. The facility also includes a truck court with trailer storage. RLC Architects designed the facility, and the engineer is Ludovici and Orange. 

Future warehouse buildings totaling 1.6 million square feet are anticipated for construction during the next seven years. The Tradeport is anticipated to create 4,000 construction jobs and 2,000 full-time jobs after its completion, according to the contractor. 

A Prime Opportunity

Butters Construction and Development, in conjunction with development and management company Liberty Property Trust, purchased the site from concrete company Tarmac America for $17.25 million in 2011. 

At the time of purchase, more than half of the property consisted of a filled-in borrow pit with concrete tailings, a condition that made it too daunting of a prospect for other developers. “Our team saw opportunity where others saw problems,” Butters says. 

Butters and Liberty Property Trust felt that the property, the largest available industrial site in the county, could prove to be a good investment. “This site was clearly one of the last large land tracts available in western Miami-Dade County for industrial development and will enable us to attract large users,” the company adds. “There is currently no space available to industrial users seeking more than 500,000 square feet.”

Re-zoning, entitlement and master planning on the site began shortly after acquisition. Nearly $1 million was invested in plans, studies and professional services, the development team says.

The site of the warehouse facility has a prime location near Miami International Airport, as well as Port Miami, Fort Lauderdale International Airport and Port Everglades. 

“Miami is quickly becoming one of the top industrial gateways in the United States and is considered, along with Southern California, as one of the uber-core markets, where all institutional real estate owners want to have a presence,” Butters Construction explains. 

“During the past year, vacancy rates in the county’s industrially rich areas west of Miami International Airport have steadily fallen and rents have risen, driven by robust cargo operations at MIA and expansion of the Panama Canal that will soon carry super-freighters into PortMiami.” 

A Real Estate Leader

Butters Construction & Development is no stranger to developing and building large-scale projects. Since its founding in 1990, the Coconut Creek, Fla.-based company has constructed more than 10 million square feet of commercial space in South Florida, and currently manages and leases 3.2 million square feet of property.

 “Our experience and performance record has earned us an enviable reputation among corporate clients, financial institutions and government agencies,” the company says. “From manufacturing and distribution centers to offices and retail facilities, our company has emerged as a leader in the real estate community.”

All of Butters’ projects are supervised and coordinated by in-house personnel and performed by many of the region’s best subcontractors. “By being our own contractor, we are able to control the timing and quality of our jobs and reduce overall costs, resulting in the most economical lease rates/purchase prices for our clients,” Butters adds. “We take pride in that we are able to fast-track a project without having to sacrifice quality or cost.”

The firm’s work has been noted with a number of awards, including a “Creative Transaction of the Year” honor from the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP) South Florida for the Miami International Tradeport project in 2012. 

Creating ‘Extraordinary Environments’

Liberty Property Trust owns and manages 2.1 million square feet of office and industrial properties in South Florida. The company, headquartered in Malvern, Pa., develops, acquires, leases and manages properties “with the mission to enhance people’s lives through extraordinary work environments,” it says. 

For the company, achieving this goal means developing high-performance green office and industrial buildings. “For more than 40 years, Liberty has provided our tenants with cutting-edge real estate solutions that are comfortable, efficient and inspiring,” the company says. “Today, we continue that promise with more than 12 million square feet of LEED space completed or under construction and 111 Energy Star-certified buildings nationwide. 

“We develop green office, industrial and warehouse facilities, retrofit existing buildings and even operate our properties in an environmentally sensitive way,” Liberty Property Trust adds. “We believe that high-performance green buildings are not just good for the planet – they create economic value for our tenants, shareholders and employees.”

Liberty’s efforts to develop and build sustainable projects have earned it recognition from the U.S. Green Building Council, the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, CareNet Global and the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties. The company operates offices in the United States as well as in the United Kingdom, and has a portfolio of 700 properties totaling 78 million square feet.

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