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Front Page » Top Stories » Gambling power Genting to build Miami baywalk

Gambling power Genting to build Miami baywalk

Written by on February 2, 2016
Gambling power Genting to build Miami baywalk

Miami city commissioners are adamant about securing an improved public baywalk on the waterfront downtown and beyond.

Early last month commissioners approved a resolution calling on the Florida Department of Transportation to provide a baywalk underneath I-395 as part of its $600 million improvement project on the elevated highway.

The topic resurfaced at the commission’s meeting last week.

Gus Pego, local district secretary for the transportation department, was there with a status report on I-395 project.

The highway connects I-95 with the MacArthur Causeway over Biscayne Bay and is hugged on the north by a large vacant parcel that was home to the Miami Herald for decades, and on the south by the Pérez Art Museum Miami and the city’s Museum Park.

The city’s resolution says that a public baywalk connecting Museum Park and the former Herald site would allow enhanced connectivity to Biscayne Bay for the benefit of pedestrians, residents and tourists.

Providing a baywalk promenade “allows for increased usage of the vibrant waterfront and public spaces within our downtown,” the resolution reads.

As part of the massive I-395 project, the department of transportation has had a series of property exchanges with the City of Miami, Miami-Dade County, and the owners of the old Herald site, Genting Group.

The Malaysia-based company purchased the 14-acre newspaper site in 2011 for $236 million. It purchased surrounding properties and announced plans for Resorts World Miami, a sweeping $3 billion luxury casino with multiple towers, stores and an elevated beach and lagoon.

Without winning OK for a casino, the plan was scaled back to two residential towers, a hotel and retail. The company has been in a holding pattern for years. There was a land swap between the developer and the state about five months ago, as part of the preparation work for the I-395 project.

Draft plans for the prime high-profile site have included an 800-foot waterfront promenade along Biscayne Bay and a marina.

Mr. Pego told commissioners last week that Genting will build the baywalk under I-395 as part of its marina, called for in an agreement with the transportation department.

The shoreline in that location would require that the baywalk be extended eastward – “they need to jog out into the bay,” he said. Genting would lease property under the highway and bottomlands to extend the baywalk as part of its marina, he said.

“We’ll work hand-in-hand to make sure it happens,” Mr. Pego told commissioners.

The information is consistent with moves made by Genting in 2014 to have old easements removed from the former Herald site. Commissioners had questioned the impact of removing the easements.

City staff said the Miami 21 zoning code would require a baywalk when the parcel is redeveloped.

Commissioners wondered if acceptance of a proposed new plat for the area – entitled Resorts World Miami One – would undo the requirement for a public walkway.

Just the opposite is true, said attorney Vicky Garcia-Toledo, representing Resorts World Miami LLC, a division of Genting.

Ms. Garcia-Toledo had said a previous property owner, Knight-Ridder Newspapers Inc., got an exception not to have to build a baywalk. That’s one reason the area was replatted, she said, “to remove that restriction.”

Without offering specifics of the proposed development, Ms. Garcia-Toledo said a full baywalk is part of its design.

Early on, Genting said Resorts World Miami would “serve as a connecting point between the Adrienne Arsht Center, Museum Park, and Margaret Pace Park. This will open up the waterfront to the public and revitalize the Omni neighborhood.”

6 Responses to Gambling power Genting to build Miami baywalk

  1. Elyse

    February 7, 2016 at 8:32 am

    The bay walk is a most needed idea
    Connectivity is what the city needs more of
    The gaming resort is not needed
    Or another high rise
    They need to think of a better concept for the land use
    And make it a park
    All of our green space is disappearing to the hands of developers wanting to make big bucks
    Bayside is tiny in the green space area
    We do need a beautiful park
    Just my opinion

    • johny

      February 10, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      Mueseum park is on the other side of 195. Who is They? The City? Miami Herald sold the property, what do you want your government to do?

  2. Hector Rivera

    February 9, 2016 at 4:50 am

    I think full-blown casinos would be a blessing to the City of Miami, bringing much need Jobs, tourism, shows, raise property values, circulate more money into the local economy, fuel more business for the Cruise Ship industry, bring world class restaurants, conventions and money.

    • JD

      February 23, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      I agree a full blown casino would be amazing – allow for more jobs and why should the Seminoles monopolize the whole state as far as gambling goes -a nice convention place would be optimal to bring in top executive teams along with great eateries.

  3. HF

    March 10, 2016 at 1:03 am

    The Casinos only bring low paging jobs and lots of Crime….

  4. Neal

    March 10, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    The article was not about whether or not a casino would be built; it is about providing pedestrian/bicycle/family/resident and tourist access to Miami’s downtown waterfront in the form of a Baywalk.

    The former Miami Herald site was exempted from a 1979 ordinance stating that all new developments would have to grant a 50′ easement along the waterfront to pedestrian access. Currently, the majority of waterfront development, from Brickell to Edgewater, are private condos that do not allow any pedestrian access.

    Moreover, the City of Miami is trying to achieve the level of a world class city and tourist destination (or at least compete with Miami Beach/Coconut Grove). To achieve that goal, one of its objectives is to design and construct a 3 mile connected baywalk that will provide much needed pedestrian walkways/connections/parks/playgrounds/access to water/greenspace. It will also elevate the property values of adjoining properties.