Written by Miami Today on August 27, 2009
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STILL DIGGING: Financing for the $1 billion-plus Port of Miami tunnel isn’t a done deal yet — but the would-be contractor team is plugging away, said Gus Pego, Florida Department of Transportation local district secretary. "They’re still doing their due diligence, working with the TIFIA [Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act federal credit assistance program] office, as well as banks, to fund the project," he said. A state-mandated Oct. 1 deadline to cement financing looms. State officials and Miami Access Tunnel contractor team representatives are teleconferencing at least once a week — sometimes two or three times — "to make sure they’re on track and things are still going and moving," Mr. Pego said. "They’re moving. At the end of the day it still has to make sense from a delivery point of view, and we’re continuing to watch the progress that they’re making… Right now it’s kind of like when you’re buying a house — you have to do all these steps… So we’re looking forward to the day we sit at the table and sign the deal." The twin tunnels are designed to keep rumbling cargo trucks off downtown streets by connecting the port with Watson Island via underwater tubes.
HOUSING UPTICK: The value of a single-family home in the Miami metropolitan area rose .5% between May and June, according to Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller US National Home Price Index. Although Miami home values have dropped 23.4% between June of 2008 and 2009, the uptick looks good compared to a .8% drop in home value in the same area between April and May. Nationwide, the index reported Tuesday that home values grew 2.9% between the first and second quarters of 2009 but were down 14.9% year-over-year. Still, the slight increase is an improvement on the 7.4% drop in home values between the fourth quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009.
SILENT TREATMENT: The process to name a developer for an entertainment center, 23-acre water park and 200-room hotel on Miami MetroZoo property is in the cone of silence, says Jon Seaman, contract administrator for the Miami-Dade parks department. Developer proposals were due in May, though moving forward there are no deadlines. "There’s no timeline," he said. "It’s moving as fast as the process would allow." The idea for the park is to include features such as a wave pool and slide towers. The entertainment center is to house attractions such as an ice or roller skating rink and food and beverage areas. The hotel is to offer around 200 rooms on about 15 acres of the 26-acre site.