Malaysian casino giant Genting plans mega-yacht marina
Genting Group will wait no longer. The Malaysian casino giant, through its Resorts World Miami, is moving forward to build a mega-yacht marina at 1 Herald Plaza without first developing the upland, where it long has sought a mammoth gambling resort.
That’s the word from attorney Spencer Crowley, representing the company Monday before the Miami River Commission.
The commission voted 10-1 to recommend approval of a plan that would establish 50 boat slips in Biscayne Bay off the former Miami Herald headquarters site between the MacArthur and Venetian causeways.
The deal includes construction of a public shoreline baywalk and a Genting promise to pay to build part of the baywalk under I-395 connecting to the existing baywalk in front of the Pérez Art Museum Miami.
That slice of baywalk would be “a huge substantial benefit” that Genting is proud to offer, Mr. Crowley said.
Rules to protect manatees allow for one slip per 100 feet of owned shoreline, giving Genting eight slips. But Mr. Crowley said Resorts World Miami intends to seek special permission to buy boat slips from two Miami River sites to bring the new marina’s slip count to 50.
The river marinas are Austral Marina near Northwest 16th Terrace and the South Fork property near Northwest 19th Court owned by Apex Marine, according to data provided to the river commission.
Horacio Stuart Aguirre, river commission chair, citing business and personal relationships with the two riverfront property owners, recused himself from the discussion and vote.
“The county has used the slip transfer in the past,” Mr. Crowley said. Resorts World Miami hopes to transfer the slips in order “to achieve the densities we want,” he said.
Mr. Crowley also said the marina would be a major economic engine for the city and increase the area’s marine industry.
“Big boats mean big jobs,” he said, and big money. “We see this as a great benefit to the Miami River,” Mr. Crowley said, saying the marina would help support marine uses and boat yards up and down the river.
Genting has owned the Biscayne Bay waterfront for about five years while floating ideas for a billion-dollar resort on the 14-acre site. But attempts to get a casino approved in Tallahassee have been dashed repeatedly, and the land has remained barren.
Mr. Crowley said the developer has been working on this plan for several years. “The site is very well suited for a marina,” he said. A proposed layout shows the marina could handle 50- to 175-foot-long vessels.
Initially, it was believed the submerged lands off 1 Herald Plaza belonged to the state, he said, but research revealed the state conveyed the submerged lands to the City of Miami in 1919, a fact confirmed by state officials.
Plenty must happen before the first 120-footer docks at the planned marina, including approvals from county, state and federal agencies. A key to the proposal is a lease of the bottomlands from the city.
The marina proposal is under review currently, said Mr. Crowley, by Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resources Management and other agencies.