Ten years ago, attorney Michael Kreitzer represented a developer who was faced with an injunction on its development of a high-rise apartment building on the south side of the Miami River after it was discovered that the Tequesta Indians had occupied the site, soon to be known as the “Miami Circle” approximately 2,000 years earlier. That injunction resulted in a settlement between the developer and the State of Florida, and a handsome profit to the developer in exchange for the property.
MDM Group Plans to Fight Preservation Board Regarding Historic Designation of Tequesta Site
Now, just a stone’s throw away across the river, a different developer, MDM Group, is facing a similar situation but is handling the challenge quite differently according to a recent Miami Herald article. MDM is gearing up for a fight with the preservation board, which has legal authority over archaeological and historic sites. MDM appears to be determined to proceed with the construction of its planned high-rise hotel and entertainment complex on the site, despite the reservations of the city’s preservation board, which may opt to proceed with a full designation study of the site. MDM attorneys have filed an appeal with the City Commission, challenging a preservation board rejection of the developers’ plan to cut out portions of the remnants that were uncovered at the site and display them in a nearby plaza.
Although preservationists and archaeologists are claiming that the site represents one of the most significant prehistoric finds in the United States, MDM is questioning whether the entire site is worth preserving. MDM agrees that certain portions of the site contain circular posthole arrangements that were made by the Tequesta Indians, and it is those portions of the site that MDM is willing to preserve and incorporate into its planned development. It will be interesting to see whether MDM will be able to circumvent the preservation board, or whether MDM will be forced to work with the preservation board in order to reach a compromise.