April 19, 2024

Noticias Para Ciudadanos Modernos

Subsidies push stalls for long-awaited American Dream Mall

Written by on March 19, 2024


Subsidies push stalls for long-awaited American Dream Mall

A legislative bid to potentially offer Miami-Dade County subsidies to get a long-stalled, multi-billion mega-project, the American Dream Mall, under way in Northwest Miami-Dade was swiftly sidetracked by a county committee last week.

The legislation aims to remove the county’s self-imposed prohibition on subsidies for design or construction of the project, whose movement has been invisible to the public for several years.

Before the county’s Chairman’s Policy Council could act on the legislation sponsored by area Commissioner Juan Carlos Bermudez, attorney Jeffrey Bercow – stating that he has represented a coalition of mall companies – said he had just learned of the legislation and asked for a postponement to study it. The committee deferred action to no time certain.

The massive project at last report was to include an indoor ski park, skating rink, indoor water park, aquarium, submarine rides, gardens, multiscreen luxury theater complex, and arts center for live performances. Also planned were retailers, restaurants and three hotels at different locations – one of about 300 rooms, one of about 400 and a third with over 900.

An attorney representing Canadian developer Triple Five Group told Miami Today in September 2022 that the developer was still working on the design for a site plan application to deliver to the county, returning to its original concept after considering major changes in 2021.

In September 2021, attorney Miguel Diaz de la Portilla told the newspaper the group was working on the same administrative site plan. At that time, the group was rethinking the design to include more outdoor spaces, but as the pandemic was ending the group decided to keep many elements of the original design.

In 2022, Mr. Diaz de la Portilla said, “We were considering more open-air areas and fewer areas under the roof. But since that time, we’re closer back to the original concept of an enclosed model. We still have open-air areas, but we have a significant amount of it under the roof.” Some 65% of the design will be for entertainment and will also have retail components, he said. At the time, there was still no clear schedule to break ground or complete work.

“The project is tied to the turnpike interchange and roadway improvements,” Mr. Diaz de la Portilla said then. Florida’s Turnpike Extension was being widened to 10 lanes between Northwest 106th Street and Interstate 75, to be completed in 2025.

The cost of mall completion will be higher than the original $4.5 billion to $5 billion estimate, Mr. Diaz de la Portilla said then.

Miami-Dade commissioners voted in 2018 to rezone roughly 174 acres in unincorporated Miami-Dade on vacant land between I-75 and Florida Turnpike’s Homestead Extension for the project. It has had multiple delays and work has not begun.

The legislation sidelined last week in the Chairman’s Policy Council would have removed the county’s restrictions that came with the rezoning agreement. They included that there would be no county financing, county grant, county-funded loan or similar subsidy, or any similar county program.

The resolution of 2018 also provided that the county would not approve tax increment financing, payment in lieu of taxes, short- or long-term real estate or sales tax exemption or tax reduction, bond financing, grants, loans or subsidies to fund design or construction of improvements related to the project.

The legislation that was set aside last week said that removing those restrictions “may provide greater flexibility related to the development of the American Dream Miami project and may potentially increase opportunities related to development and infrastructure in the surrounding area.”

Triple Five Group developed West Edmonton Mall in Canada, Mall of America in Minnesota and American Dream Meadowlands in the Greater New York area. The company defaulted on a $1.2 billion construction loan in 2021 and had to surrender 49% of its equity in Mall of America in Bloomington, MN, and West Edmonton Mall in Alberta that had been pledged as collateral for the New Jersey mall.

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