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Art in Public Places: Regulatory Burden or Opportunity?

The concept of art in public places is well-established in the United States. As early as the 1930s, the federal government created New Deal programs that paid artists to create works of art for display in municipal buildings and other public civic properties.  Similarly, Miami-Dade County has required since the 1970s that art be provided in the amount of 1.5% of total construction costs for any governmental development, including private development on public land.  The County’s program has yielded several notable works of public art, including the “Red M” by Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt at the Riverwalk Metromover station and “Slide Mantra” by Isamu Noguchi.  The recently installed floors in Terminal D at Miami International Airport are also a product of the County’s program.  Other local jurisdictions, including the City of Miami Beach, have more recently adopted similar programs.

Earlier this year, the City of Miami adopted a requirement that public art be installed in new public buildings, but declined at that time to extend the program to private development in the City.  However, the City is now considering a new ordinance  that would extend such requirements to all private development, not just private development on public land, which would therefore make the City’s program the most expansive in South Florida.  If adopted, the new ordinance would require public art to be provided at new privately constructed buildings that is equal to up to 1.25% of the total construction cost or, in the alternative, a payment of up to 1% of construction costs may be made to an art fund.

Many real estate developers view these programs as yet another regulatory burden that drives up the costs of new development in South Florida.  To be sure, art in public places programs add to total construction costs.  However, with some creativity, there are opportunities to reduce the cost of compliance.  We have been involved in many private developments subject to Art in Public Places, and in some cases, the County’s 1.5% requirement actually increases the total development cost by less than 0.5%.  Furthermore, public art is not simply red tape–it can potentially increase the value of the development.  This, too, should be considered when developing a strategy for compliance with any applicable public-art regulations.

© 2018 Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP

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About this Author

Javier Avino, Government Relations, Bilzin Sumberg Law Firm, Miami
Partner

Javier is the first stop for developers before they put a shovel in the ground. Javier assists clients in obtaining the necessary development approvals for major high-rise residential condominium and rental projects, commercial and institutional buildings, single-family residential developments, affordable housing developments, and public-private partnerships. He represents both international and domestic clients in the private sector and is Co-Chair of the Firm's International initiative.

Javier also has extensive experience representing clients in the restaurant...

305-350-7202
Albert Dotson, Bilzin Sumberg Law Firm, Real Estate and Land Development Attorney
Partner

Nationally recognized for his work on public-private partnerships (P3), Al's experience includes rail and transit facilities, airports, marinas, sports stadiums, convention centers, healthcare/life sciences facilities, educational institutions, water and sewer facilities, and parking structures.

Al is recognized throughout Florida for his work representing local, national, and international clients in responding to government contract solicitations and defending against, or prosecuting quasi-judicial and judicial bid protests.

305-350-2411
Associate

Eric Singer is an Associate in the Government Relations & Land Development Group. His practice focuses on government procurement contracts and the development approval process, including planning and zoning applications, government approvals and permits. Eric also represents clients in quasi-judicial matters and has handled land use cases in state and federal courts at the trial and appellate levels.

305-350-2354