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Front Page » Business & Finance » Miami Wilds LLC wants $13 million in public funding

Miami Wilds LLC wants $13 million in public funding

Written by on October 22, 2014
Miami Wilds LLC wants $13 million in public funding

Not only does Miami Wilds LLC want to build an amusement park complete with water rides on county-owned land in South Miami-Dade, but the developer also plans for a 400-room hotel as well as a rich choice of retail and restaurants.

Miami Wilds LLC and Miami-Dade County are negotiating the logistics of the proposed development that might rise at the county-owned Zoo Miami and on adjacent federally owned land.

The county commission might consider a proposal by year’s end, but zoo officials couldn’t confirm that.

The proposed $930 million project is to have nine elements, according to records filed with the county.

Included in the plans: theme park rides, such as a 4-D attraction and an Alien vs. Prometheus dark ride; a water park opened seasonally; a 400-room hotel with a Sony Music Theatre performance venue; a 30,000-square-foot retail and restaurant village at the zoo’s entrance; an entertainment center with movie theaters and bowling; an outdoor area for sports; a landscaped pedestrian and bike path; parking; and a 1.5-mile transportation link that unifies the project’s parts.

Miami Wilds LLC plans to lease land from the county for the project. The developer says Miami-Dade would earn more than $67.1 million in rent during the first 20 years of operation, records show.

In addition, the increased tourism sparked by the entertainment complex would translate to $6.7 million a year in bed and local option sales tax, records show.

For the proposed development, Miami Wilds LLC is requesting about $130 million, or 14% of the estimated overall project cost, in public funding, county records show.

The developer wants $13.5 million to come from Miami-Dade County Economic Development Funds, or county bond money designated for projects that would be a significant economic benefit to the county. Specifically, that $13.5 million is to be used to replicate several US Coast Guard communications towers. Part of the entertainment complex is to be built on federally owned land northeast of Zoo Miami where the US Coast Guard now has facilities.

For that to happen, the developer needs to replicate several Coast Guard communications towers.

Eric Stephens, Zoo Miami director, said the federal land slated for the entertainment complex hasn’t yet been acquired.

Miami Wilds LLC is also requesting public sector funding for parking ($40 million), site preparation ($26.5 million), roadways ($26 million), and a transportation mode inside the entertainment complex ($24 million).

But records didn’t specify from which public agency the developer would seek these funds.

Initially, a Zoo Miami entertainment complex was to be developed by Miami Wilds LLC in conjunction with Dinosaur Park Miami Corp., a subsidiary of Germany-based Dinosaur Park International. But the latter company, which planned on a $14.3 million investment into a dinosaur-based park, pulled out of negotiations earlier this year.

Backers of the area’s development said the move wasn’t detrimental to plans to develop the area.

“The dinosaur piece wasn’t a big piece in the bigger scheme of things,” county Commissioner Dennis Moss told Miami Today at the time. “You look at the magnitude of what 20th Century Fox is able to build there and what the dinosaur group is able to build there. Really, there wasn’t much comparison there.”

Mr. Moss and other backers of the development tout it as a much-needed economic engine for South Miami-Dade.

In an emailed statement, Greg Lombardo, vice president of live and location based entertainment for 20th Century Fox Consumer Products, said: “With a strong international and domestic tourism market and a year-round climate, Miami is a great potential US location for a 20th Century Fox World theme park. We view this as a strong opportunity.”

10 Responses to Miami Wilds LLC wants $13 million in public funding

  1. DC Copeland

    October 22, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Give them what they want. It will pay off in spades down the road. Don’t let what happened when Disney scouted here in the early 60’s: we lost the big one and the economic engine that transformed sleepy, non-descript Orlando.

  2. sean

    October 22, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Disney never seriously considered S. FL due to storms and cheaper land in Central FL. As long as Miami Wild does not impact the sensitive land next to the zoo then I am all for it.

  3. WT

    October 23, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Yet another place for urban youth to destroy.

  4. Maria

    October 25, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Yes Miami go for it, it is a great thing an excellent source for jobs and entertainment.

  5. IvoSan

    October 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    So, they are asking funding for:
    parking ($40 million),
    site preparation ($26.5 million),
    roadways ($26 million), and
    a transportation mode inside the entertainment complex ($24 million).

    Instead of handing money to a private venture, why not extending Trirail to the same site, using the existing CSX tracks. Less need for parking and roadways improvements, tourist could arrive without generating more traffic, and Kendall residents could have new transportation.

  6. Victor

    October 27, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    I welcome all such development and we can use the penny tax we gave the Marlins for that.

  7. Victor

    October 27, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Ok, that’s good, but just answer me this one question. How are tourist supposed to get here? and since the commissioners stole the money that could be used to expand the rail system, the only way to get there would be to travel on an already over crowded road.

  8. Rinna

    November 7, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Happy to hear some new projects are being proposed but then again, the county needs to allocate funds FIRST to extending the metrorail, NO amount of highway extensions here and there will solve the present traffic nightmare, how much more when this project attracts MORE traffic! Improve the TRAIN system, ALL the way to KEY WEST without raising the fares, improve the public/charter schools, make higher education more affordable! INVEST to IMPROVE what we have right now that’s in need our dire help! Serve the community first then tourism. Think, how will our own community be able to afford and enjoy ANY new theme park, without access and money?

  9. Ciro Ros

    November 7, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Great!!!!!! let’s do it, we need more jobs and tourists…… GO MIAMI

  10. Tim Thompson

    December 3, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Concerned about the parade of private companies wanting either public tax payer money or for the consumer to pay UP FRONT to support private projects. (also see FPL wanting the public to pay upfront for the investment they need to start a fracking company to drill for gas).

    I am not opposed to economic development but using public or consumer money that’s desperately needed to fund education, infrastructure, first responder services or My OWN Capital Expenditures is highway robbery. All of these public companies have access to capital from Wall Street to finance their for profit capital expenditures. These companies can and will re-capture their capex from the fees they charge for the good or services provided but the PUBLIC should NOT have to pay UP FRONT for their investment. That’s the way capitalism is supposed to work.

    Our legislators have unfortunately passed laws which allow private companies to do this. These laws should be repealed!

    I would be the first to pay for the first kilowatt hour of power I purchase from FPL or to pay to go to the proposed theme park but to pay my hard earned money for them to fund their investment is OBSCENE. If I have to pay up front (like an investor) then I want a piece of the action and want to be paid a dividend, just like any investor would.