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Front Page » Top Stories » Takeoff Set For Massive Airport City

Takeoff Set For Massive Airport City

Written by on December 16, 2010

By Yudislaidy Fernandez
Miami-Dade’s aviation department and proposed developer Odebrecht have agreed on lease terms for an Airport City project three years in the making, but it won’t get to the county commission for final review until the second quarter of next year.

Plans are to transform 40 acres that include Miami International Airport’s gateway into a profit-making visitor and business hub by constructing two hotels, a retail center and an office park that could cost north of $500 million.

Aviation Director José Abreu said this public-private partnership is the vehicle to get this revenue-generating infrastructure built at the airport.

"It’s a way to get infrastructure in place that [otherwise] we would have to borrow the money for," he said. "And with the CIP [Capital Improvement Program] and the debt service associated with the north and south terminals, at this point in time we are not recommending for us to go back to the [bond] market."

A pricey expansion and makeover has saddled Miami International with ballooning debt from cost overruns and major delays. The aviation department faces a projected $500 million in new annual debt service and operating costs expected to begin in 2015.

The goal is to present final lease terms to the county commission by the second quarter, said Gregory C. Owens, aviation’s division director of real estate management, as the project requires the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval first, then green light from the commission.

"We are moving forward," said Odebrecht Project Executive Dean F. Radeloff, "diligently working to get the agreements finalized and project moving to create jobs and start getting revenues to the county."

Immigrant culture and the professional world collide in the new Mona Simpson novel "My Hollywood", read the book review in e-Miami Today.