Jorge Perez Accidently Stumbled Upon an Archaeological Site

Jorge Perez, an Real Estate Magnate, Accidently Stumbled Upon an Archaeological Site While Demolishing the Federal Building in Miami.

Apr 9, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Jorge Perez
Part of the 444 Brickell development site, which could receive protected designation as a historic landmark. Photo courtesy Archaeological and Historical Conservancy of Florida.


Jorge Perez is not only a real estate magnate, but also an art collector. Overall, he bought a property in Miami in 2013, on which he will build apartments and a luxury hotel. But, something unexpected happened. He tore down the federal building that was on the construction site, and soon realized that the property was archaeologically rich. He immediately stopped the construction.


Jorge Perez Stopped the Construction on Brickell Site

Jorge Perez
Related’s construction site at 777 Southeast Fifth Street in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood, where prehistoric artifacts were discovered during development, as seen on Google street view.


This new archaeological site is full of historical information about the Tequesta civilization. They are the first people who settled in Florida. The site is full of human remains and other archaeologically important artifacts. That’s why Perez needed to stop the construction in April 2021. The first Floridian civilization was practical. For example, they used shark teeth and other animals to create food utensils.


But, there is one problem. The procedure for deciding whether this place is really archaeologically important slowed down a bit. But progress is visible, and the Historic and Environmental Preservation Board is much closer to finding a place for discoveries that go back 7 thousand years. This is a result of a meeting happening at Miami’s City Hall on Tuesday.


Miami Art Space
Via Miami Art Space website


Not only will artifacts get their place, but Perez will also be able to start a construction on some part of the property. A large number of people have been waiting to comment on the new Brickell archaeological site and its future, after months of silence. In the end, the public had the chance to watch the event live via video.

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The Related Group Could Use “Protracted Legislation” to Save Their Construction

Miami Circle
Miami Circle, an archaeological site discovered in 1998. Photo by Juan Castro Olivera/AFP via Getty Images.


Many are now comparing the new archeological discovery to the Miami Circle. This archaeological site was also important for Tequesta people. Preservation officials think an entire Brickell site that is up for development deserves protected classification. But, by stopping all new buildings, the city could come in danger from Related mentioning “protracted litigation”.


By law, Perez had to present the evidence he found. But declaring this place an archaeological site will bring him difficulties. Namely, it will be more difficult to get a license to work with huge costs. The decision was difficult. The Related must develop a conservation action plan and consult with local communities and archaeologists. Perez also commented.


Miami Circle
Excavations at Miami Circle in 1998. Photo by Eric Smith, Getty Images.


“We also agree that the 444 Brickell site should be celebrated and honored. We will work with the city hand in hand on the designation of the 444 Brickell site. Our efforts will continue to be transparent and inclusive. We know that working together on the preservation of archaeologically significant sites is a collaborative effort that benefits everyone”, he said.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.