Land swap may drive entertainment complex
Written by Lidia Dinkova on November 5, 2014
As negotiations continue over a proposed multi-million dollar entertainment complex that might rise in South Miami-Dade, parties involved are considering a land swap.
Miami-Dade officials said they might swap county-owned land for a chunk of federal land that’s vital for the proposed development.
Miami Wilds is a planned $930 million entertainment complex that might rise in Zoo Miami as well as on federal land just northeast of the zoo. The US Coast Guard has operations on the federal land near the zoo.
“This project depends on the availability of at least a portion of the Coast Guard property,” Miami-Dade County officials said in an emailed statement to Miami Today.
Miami-Dade officials are considering swapping county-owned land for the needed Coast Guard land.
The two county-owned parcels being eyed for a swap: 105 surplus acres at Tamiami Trail and Krome Avenue adjacent to a county-operated gun range, the Trail Glades Range; and 105 acres that are also surplus at the Homestead General Aviation Airport, 28700 SW 217th Ave.
Ultimately, whether there’s to be a land swap, as well as how many acres the county will swap for how many acres of Coast Guard land, remains to be determined and is contingent upon the Coast Guard’s needs.
Miami-Dade is awaiting the US Coast Guard’s response to the land swap proposal. The Coast Guard is to answer in late November or early December, county officials said. The Coast Guard didn’t reply to Miami Today’s inquiry about the county’s proposal for a land swap in time for deadline.
Yet another piece associated with building the Miami Wilds development on parts of the federal land: US Coast Guard communication antennas might have to be replicated at another site.
“The expectation is that the antenna fields will be replicated on county-owned land that we intend to swap for the Coast Guard property,” Miami-Dade officials said.
The entertainment complex’s developer, Miami Wilds LLC, is seeking $13.5 million in Miami-Dade County bond funding. That request is “associated with the replication of the Coast Guard communications towers,” according to the developer’s application to the county.
“The federal government wants to make sure that they don’t lose their [communication] capability, so we are trying to see how do we maintain their capability, swap the land and then close out the transaction. So there are some moving pieces to this,” Mayor Carlos Gimenez told Miami Today.
The developer’s application for the county bond funds was to be heard by the county commission Wednesday.
The proposed Miami Wilds complex is to include a theme park, a water park, a 400-room hotel, a Sony Music Theatre and an outdoor area for sports, according to county records.
Aside from the Coast Guard, Miami-Dade is also negotiating with Miami Wilds.
“To me this is a very exciting plan for that area, something that will add thousands of jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars of private investment,” Mayor Gimenez said. “There’s a significant amount of public infrastructure that will be needed, but I think it would be a great attraction.”