State-to-city-to-Genting deal for Miami bayfront property
Written by John Charles Robbins on December 12, 2017
The developer that owns a choice piece of bayfront property in Miami that was formerly the home of the Miami Herald is in negotiations with city officials for submerged land in order to build a marina.
But first, the Florida Department of Transportation needs to deed the strip of bottomlands back to the City of Miami, so the city can lease it to Resorts World Miami LLC, a subsidiary of Malaysian casino giant Genting. The company bought the site with plans for a resort casino that would have been the world’s largest.
The conveyance of the submerged land is scheduled as an action item on today’s (12/14) city commission agenda.
The property donation and conveyance coincides with the adjoined waterfront site being used as the temporary home of Art Miami and CONTEXT Art Miami. The land is known as 1 Herald Plaza.
Genting Group purchased the 14-acre newspaper site in 2011 for $236 million. It also 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, said company representatives, but nothing has been built.
In October 2016, representatives of Resorts World Miami said the developer was moving ahead with construction of the marina, independent of the ultimate fate of the upland property.
At that time, attorney Spencer Crowley of Akerman got a supportive vote from the Miami River Commission to a plan from Resorts World Miami to build a 50-slip marina on the property, located between the MacArthur and Venetian causeways. This included the transfer of ownership of 42 boat slips on the river to the bayfront site.
A proposed layout shows the marina could handle 50-foot to 175-foot-long vessels.
The deal includes construction of a public baywalk along the shore 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.
The item before city commissioners is a resolution authorizing the city manager to accept and execute a quit claim deed for the donation and conveyance of submerged land from the Florida Department of Transportation, located north of I-395, to the City of Miami.
A background memo on the matter says the state transportation department originally obtained the property from the city in order to build the MacArthur Causeway, which leads to Watson Island and Miami Beach beyond.
“The FDOT has determined the property is no longer needed for the continued maintenance of the MacArthur Causeway and has agreed to convey the property to the city,” the memo reads.
“The city anticipates including a portion of the property in a submerged lands lease and is currently negotiating such lease with the adjacent riparian upland owner, Resorts World Miami LLC … [which] intends to develop and operate a marina which shall be located partly on submerged land currently owned by the city and partly on the property,” it says.