Miami wants bigger Bayside Ferris wheel receipt share
If Bayside wants to bring a 176-foot-tall Ferris wheel to its grounds, it’s going to have to give the City of Miami a larger cut of the revenue, city commissioners argue.
The city commission considered a height waiver for a proposed Ferris wheel at Bayside Marketplace at last week’s meeting, with the discussion centering on air rights.
While the city would not be surrendering its air rights to Bayside for the temporary installation, commissioners said the ability to build higher than the Bayside lease allows makes the proposed amusement ride different from the marketplace’s other businesses.
The commission went on to table the proposed ordinance to allow for staff to gather revenue projections, but the commission would adjourn the meeting before it could be discussed again.
Various commissioners said the city was entitled to a larger share than the 6% cut of Bayside’s revenue share – which was later doubled. According to Bayside attorneys, the deal would call for split revenue between the outdoor shopping mall and the company behind the wheel, Sky Views of America.
“I think it’s going to be a huge addition to Miami, but air rights are very valuable and Bayside is going to make a tremendous amount of additional dollars on this lease for themselves,” Commissioner Joe Carollo said. “The City of Miami cannot keep on going doing deals for itself that we’re shortchanging the residents of Miami in what we do.”
Mr. Carollo railed against the deal, arguing the city would not be getting its fair share. He said the city’s commissions in past decades have not brought in substantial recurring revenue unrelated to the real estate market.
Commissioners Manolo Reyes and Keon Hardemon also said the city should be getting a larger share of the revenue. After Joe Press, representing Ashkenazy Acquisition, said Bayside had not invested any money for the project and would only be providing land for it, Mr. Hardemon said the city and Bayside are in a similar position.
“You’re giving the land to start the building. We’re giving the air rights to finish the building,” Mr. Hardemon said.
Attorney Wayne Pathman, representing Bayside, said the commission’s requests could doom the project.
“What you’re seeking today is going to kill this project, so we all end up with zero. Is that what you all want?” he said.
Mr. Carollo spurned the improved offer of 12% of revenues and called for Bayside and the city to split the revenue, saying that if the deal between Bayside and Sky Views were to fall through, he would offer a resolution to invite the company to install the attraction in city-owned Bayfront Park.
Commissioners Ken Russell and Wifredo “Willy” Gort showed support for the wheel. But Mr. Russell said Bayside and the city administration were not prepared and, as a result, did not have sufficient votes from the city commission.
“If they wanted to have this approved, they would have the projections of the gross revenue, which my 6-year-old daughter could do in about 10 minutes,” Mr. Russell said.
The attraction had received a recommendation of approval from the Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board and the city’s Planning Department.
The proposed attraction, referred to as an observation wheel by Sky Views, is set to feature gondolas, or enclosed capsules, that could each seat eight passengers, for a total of 336 passengers. Rides are to last 12 to 15 minutes.
The attraction is set to tie in to Super Bowl 2020 plans, with plans for a large-scale event at Bayfront Park.