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Front Page » Top Stories » Proposal To Call For Waterfront Apartments Behind American Airlines Arena

Proposal To Call For Waterfront Apartments Behind American Airlines Arena

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Written by on February 21, 2002

By Paola Iuspa
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Plans for 4.5 waterfront acres east of the American Airlines Arena may be leaning toward residential use though a county agreement calls for retail.

Raul Masvidal of Masvidal Partners, representing Calor Development, an affiliate of the Miami Heat, has crafted a plan to bring in the Codina Group to build rental housing. Basketball Properties, the arena’s manager and a Heat affiliate, holds rights to finance, design and run a project there.

The current agreement allows the group to choose a developer to build a garage, up to 70,000 square feet of retail and a marina. The residential plan, confirmed by Codina, the Miami-Dade County attorney and a Miami commissioner, would require the county commission to revise that deal.

Mr. Masvidal would not comment on the plan.

Forrest Robinson, Codina agent for the proposal, said it is "too soon to jump to conclusions" but that Basketball Properties had approached Codina as it was seeking developers.

A rental complex on the vacant site "is not yet a done deal," said Miami-Dade attorney Robert Ginsburg.

Still, Miami Commissioner Johnny Winton said he knew of the plan and backs it 100% because the need is greater for housing than retail.

"Let me put it this way: how quickly can they start building?" he said.

Mr. Winton said some city hall colleagues would also welcome the change.

Though county-owned, the land falls in Miami’s jurisdiction. The city doesn’t have a say on what is developed, but any project must meet city zoning.

Basketball Properties has wanted to develop the site since 1999, when the agreement was tied into the deal that built the arena, but efforts have stalled. As of now, Basketball Properties must start building by June 1 or the county can regain control. The firm is already paying fees for delays in launching a project.

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