Miami Pushes Developer Closer To Watson Island Groundbreaking
By Deserae del Campo
Miami commissioners last week took a series of steps needed for Flagstone Island Gardens to develop its $480 million project with a pair of luxury hotels and a mega-yacht marina on city-owned Watson Island.
They granted Flagstone the right to use about 10.8 acres above ground and 13.4 submerged acres for groundwork relocations and modifications, environmental mitigation, seawall repairs and reconstruction, roadway work, tree relocation, dredging and filling of land, installing sales and construction offices, and temporary and final utilities.
"Five years ago, the city issued a request for proposals for this project," said Lori Billberry, city director of economic development. "Flagstone should break ground on Watson Island some time this year. The items on the agenda included construction, infrastructure and greenspace for the general use of the island."
In 2001, city officials awarded Miami Beach-based Flagstone Property Group a 75-year ground lease on Watson Island, and in July 2004, the city commission approved the major use special permit for the development.
Flagstone is creating a master plan for the 5.5 acres of open space on Watson Island, Ms. Billberry said. "It’s one consideration for using the island that Flagstone is creating the master plan."
"This is a signature project for the city that was approved by the state," said Commissioner Joe Sanchez, "especially with the master plan created for a pedestrian connection onto the island."
The state’s Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund approved the Flagstone development and the city’s issuance of an easement on June 24, 2004.
Island Gardens is to include a four-star and a five-star hotel, 221,000 square feet of retail space and eight restaurants with ocean views.
A 50-slip mega-yacht marina capable of accommodating yachts 450 feet long and a 24,100-square-foot luxury resort spa are part of the project.