Chalks Ocean Airways Settles Suit Keeps Island Seaplane Base
Written by Miami Today on March 21, 2002
By Sherri C. Ranta
despite gloom, aviation support firms find soft landings volvo ocean race heads for sixth stop in miami chalk’s ocean airways settles suit, keeps island seaplane base miami today recognizes 6 with gold medal awards charter school runs into snags over plans for gun range nextdoor aventura corporate center, acreage bought by condo developer miami plans to refinance bonds so it can borrow more for parks, roads calendar of events fyi miami filming in miami front page about miami today put your message in miami today contact miami today job opportunities research our files the online archive order reprints chalk’s ocean airways settles suit, keeps island seaplane baseBy Sherri C. Ranta
Chalk’s Ocean Airways and Miami have settled the company’s ongoing lawsuit, keeping the historic seaplane operation on Watson Island.
Chalk’s owner Jim Confalone signed a 30-year lease with the Miami Sports & Exhibition Authority, putting to rest more than a decade of negotiations about the line’s continued presence on Watson, said Lori Billberry, city director of asset management.
A three-phase lease allows Chalk’s to keep operating there, rent terminal space in the planned Greater Miami Visitor & Aviation Center or make $1 million in improvement to facilities if the center isn’t ready in five years, she said.
Chalk’s will pay $30,000 a year rent, double what it now pays the city’s parks department, Mr. Confalone said. The lease provides for a 20-year extension.
Construction of the 45,000-square-foot center, a joint project of the sports authority, the city and Greater Miami Convention and & Visitors Bureau, is to begin in November, Ms. Billberry said, at a cost of as much as $12.5 million.
In addition to Chalk’s, it’s to house a helicopter base, a 15,000-square-foot visitors center, offices for the sports authority, a small museum and a 3rd-level observation deck.
City and Chalk’s officials have been negotiating since 1999 when a 10-year agreement that allowed Chalk’s to use Watson Island for a $15,000 a year donation to the parks department ended, Mr. Confalone said.
Chalk’s flies four Grumman Turbine Mallards from Fort Lauderdale and Miami to Bimini, Walker’s Cay and Paradise Island in the Bahamas.
"Chalk’s is to Miami," Mr. Confalone said, "what cable cars are to San Francisco. The vast majority of people in South Florida want Chalk’s to remain as a common sight coming and going through Government Cut as they have been since 1917."