Two firms submit proposals to develop waterpark adjacent to Miami Metrozoo
By Scott E. Pacheco
Two firms are vying to develop a water park, and possibly more, on county land adjacent to Miami Metrozoo.
Jacksonville-based PARC Management LLC and Fort Lauderdale-based Recreational Design & Construction Inc. have bid. New York-based Aquatic Development Group also sent a letter of interest.
The county wouldn't release details during the selection process.
The water park is the first part of a complex that's also to include an entertainment center and 200-room hotel. Miami-Dade commissioners in July 2008 cleared up lingering land-use issues, opening the door to seek developers.
The county plans to lease the land to either one developer for both the water park and entertainment center or to two developers to handle one project each. Developers are to pay all costs, including improving public infrastructure, and are to invest up to $40 million.
The county would be on the hook only for signs and road and parking improvements, set to be covered by general obligation bonds.
According to the county request, "proposers that submit a proposal for a [water park should also] submit proposals to provide the financing, development, promotion, operation and maintenance of a quality Family Entertainment Center… and/or… provide the financing, development, promotion, operation and maintenance of a quality Vacation Hotel. It is the County's preference to issue one award for all three projects."
Specifics on bids weren't available, but both bidders have experience beyond water parks.
PARC Management has entertainment, theme and water park properties from Washington state to California to New York. Its water parks include Waterworld California in Concord, CA; White Water Bay in Oklahoma City; Splashtown in Spring, TX; and Myrtle Waves in Myrtle Beach, SC. It also runs four hybrid theme/water parks.
PARC's only presence in Florida, according to its Web site, is its corporate headquarters in Jacksonville.
Recreational Design & Construction Inc. has a stronger local presence with project Grapeland Heights Park just south of Miami International Airport. Other projects include CB Smith Park/Paradise Cove Water Playground in Pembroke Pines and an expansion of Typhoon Lagoon at Walt Disney World, according to its Web site.
Calls to Recreational Design & Construction weren't returned. PARC Executive Vice President Curtis Parks and Aquatic Development Group Chairman and CEO Herb Ellis couldn't be reached.
There are no deadlines, Jon Seaman, contract administrator for the Miami-Dade parks department, said previously.
"There's no timeline," he said. "It's moving as fast as the process would allow."
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.
According to the county request, the water park "should create a synergy with the underlying theme of Miami Metrozoo and other attractions pertaining to global exploration and discovery."
Documents require a 2021 completion. Until then, the land is to be protected from down-zoning.