$4 billion American Dream mall rolls along road to OK
Written by Katherine Lewin on July 24, 2018
The $4 billion American Dream Miami mall mega-project is one step closer to fruition.
The vast mall and entertainment complex planned for Northwest Miami-Dade has been approved by the reviewing agencies in Miami-Dade County and now the next step, administrative site approval, is under way, said Nathan Kogon, assistant director of development services for Miami-Dade County.
Before the developers can pull building permits, they must get administrative site approval, Mr. Kogon said. This next step is a detailed plan of the mall, including ground elevations, floor plans, parking, landscaping, storm water management, wetland mitigation and environmental considerations. The site plan has not been submitted yet, according to Mr. Kogon.
“There are still several steps before they can approve building permits. If the developers submit the administrative site plan today, they probably wouldn’t pull building permits for another nine months,” Mr. Kogon said. “It takes a while.”
Along with administrative site approval, the property must also be “platted,” which is the process of legally subdividing land to create a legal description for the clerk of courts, Mr. Kogon said. Platting is the method used to insure proper sewer, roadways and water management.
For the American Dream mall, it will probably be submitted as one big parcel, Mr. Kogon said.
“They’re going to show all of the dedications of roadways that will go to the county. Once that tentative plat is approved, then they start pulling permits and get their site plan approved,” he said. “Before they get the final plat, which means it can be occupied, all of the roads have to be in, and water and sewer have to be in or be bonded for 110% of the cost. When the final plat is recorded with the clerk of courts, it is either built or it is platted to be built. It’s a real close step in the process.”
For this project, the timeline of beginning construction and completion is still uncertain. The developers have already jumped through a number of hoops in order to get it this far, including discussing a major sticking issue with community members and nearby Broward County: potential gridlock.
Broward is only a few miles north of the project and leaders previously threatened litigation unless the developers, International Atlantic LLC, addressed the county’s concerns. After multiple meetings, the developers agreed to pay the county a lump sum of $650,000, according to a letter from the developers’ lawyers.
This money would be used solely for an “adaptive signal control system” along Miramar Parkway east and west of I-75. It would consist of six signalized intersections from and including Southwest 160th Avenue to Monarch Lakes Boulevard. A “fiber-optic system connection” was also in the agreement, starting at Monarch Lakes Boulevard and going east to Broward County’s programmed fiber-optic extension point at University Drive.
In addition to the $650,000, the developers are to build on-site transit facilities, including three bus bays, dedicated to Broward County transit for its use “on a priority basis.”
The date when the payment will be due to Broward County is not yet known, said Josie Sesodia, director of the environmental protection and growth management department for Broward.
The American Dream Miami project, 7.2 million square feet of entertainment and an amusement park, won final zoning approval in May from Miami-Dade County in a 9-1 vote. The project boasts an indoor ski slope, a walk-through aquarium, restaurants, retail stores, a skating rink, an ice-climbing wall, live theater venues for Russian ballet and Chinese acrobats and 2,000 hotel rooms, if approved by a series of groups. It could be completed in a single phase and opened in 2023, if all goes according to plan. It’s been in the planning stages since 2013.
Developer International Atlantic LLC, part of the Triple Five Group, predicts the mall would draw over 300,000 visitors daily and receive 40 million annual visitors. The project would create about 15,000 permanent jobs but Triple Five estimates about 60% of the jobs would offer salaries under $25,000 a year.
Triple Five Worldwide also developed the West Edmonton Mall in Canada and Mall of America in Bloomington, MN. In about 15 months, Triple Five Worldwide is to open American Dream Metropolitan New York in the New Jersey Meadowlands, Robert Gorlow, an attorney for the complex, previously told Miami Today.
On May 17, Miami-Dade County commissioners approved the rezoning and accepted the development agreement, which set out the square footage and the responsibilities of the developers, such as roadways and infrastructure.
The backers of the American Dream Miami mega-mall predict that the County Commission will approve their concept in October, Mr. Gorlow previously told Miami Today.
The zoning hearings will continue through the fall and the agreement will be final toward the end of the year, said Jerry Bell, Miami-Dade’s assistant director of planning.