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Front Page » Top Stories » Miami Seeks Developer For 50yearold Golf Course

Miami Seeks Developer For 50yearold Golf Course

Written by on August 13, 2004

By Samantha Joseph
The City of Miami is looking for private investors to build a hotel complex on the site of International Links Miami, formerly Melreese Golf Course.

The city will require the developer it hires to build a hotel and golf course on the 130-acre site at 1802 NW 37th Ave, near Miami International Airport.

Supplemental construction could include retail, educational, restaurant, parking, conventions or cultural projects. City officials said they will require that the hotel operate at four-star level and have fewer than 349 rooms.

A community meeting on the redevelopment proposals is planned for September. Organizers hope to take their findings to the Miami City Commission in October and issue documents on the offering by November.

International Links became the subject of a lawsuit in April when operator Bunkers of Miami said the city failed to properly supervise a renovation of the golf course. Miami officials contended Bunkers breeched its agreement by not building a clubhouse at the course.

In the end, the city admitted no wrongdoing but paid Bunkers $850,000 and retained the company’s principal, Charles Delucca, to manage the property. The settlement set Mr. Delucca’s salary at $110,000 a year until December 2007.

Keith Carswell, director of Miami’s Department of Economic Development, said the city has resumed operation of the course.

He said the arrangement with Bunkers would have no effect on a new private investor and that the city, not the buyer, would continue to pay Mr. Delucca.

"He is not a party to the (request for proposals to redevelop the land)," Mr. Carswell said. "He will have a role throughout the term of his contract toward the operation, but we’re now in a position to issue (a request for proposals) that will bring in someone to operate and manage the golf course."

International Links Miami opened in 1951 and is one of the oldest courses in the city. The name was changed in 1997 after a major overhaul and redesign by golf-course architect Charles Mahannah.

The 18-hole park offers golf carts but no caddy services. Greens fees range from $38 to $75 a day.

"We want to move the project ahead as quickly as possible," Mr. Carswell said.

The idea is still in its infancy, but Luciana Lamardo, the economic department’s marketing coordinator, said the city will ask that the developer plan, design, construct and manage the property.

Appraisal and revenue information were not available last week.

Meanwhile, developers interested in bidding on another city offer have until September to submit proposals.

A call for investors to redevelop commercial property at 400-430 SW Eighth Ave. will close at 2 p.m. Sept. 30.

The city will not consider proposals of less than $615,000 for the 28,101-square-foot site. According to documents, developers must submit a $100,000 deposit by the deadline to the city clerk at 3500 Pan American Drive.Details: (305) 416-1400