Airport City takeoff may come in 2010
By Risa Polansky
Construction on the proposed Airport City could begin as early as year's end — though it seems the project will look different than envisioned.
The massive development slated for the gateway to Miami International Airport was initially conceived as a $665 million complex with a Florida International University "medical city," high-end hotel, energy center, cruise lounge and parking garage with rooftop park, among other components.
But Airport City, as creator Odebrecht calls it, will probably end up different once the firm and Miami-Dade Aviation reach a deal.
Negotiations continue, and project components will "absolutely change," said Odebrecht Project Executive Dean F. Radeloff. "The county has asked us to make some changes, and we're going down that road."
He referred questions to aviation Deputy Director Miguel Southwell, who also declined comment, citing county policy of staying mum amid negotiations.
The possibility for major changes is not a surprise.
When aviation officials went looking for a developer to transform four parcels at the airport's entrance, the vision was quite different: two new hotels, a pet spa and a service plaza.
A seventh negotiations meeting is set for July 7.
From there, the deal will need several approvals, including from the Federal Aviation Administration and the county commission.
The project timeline is still up in the air given the process ahead, but there's been talk of trying to wrap negotiations in the next few meetings, Mr. Radeloff said.
"I'm confident we're going to get a deal agreed upon and taken care of here shortly."
His ideal construction start: as early as the last quarter of this year, or perhaps in 2011.
"I know that's fairly optimistic," Mr. Radeloff said. "But that would be my hope."