Jorge Perez In Megaproject Spotlight
By Meisha Perrin
Despite being granted a new nine-month extension last week by Miami commissioners to begin work on a marina, Flagstone’s long-delayed $640 million Island Gardens mixed-use project on Watson Island is still expected to be finished by 2017.
And during the extension, which gives the developer until June 2, 2014, to begin, the city will still get previously negotiated increased rent — $83,000 monthly as of Oct. 1.
As part of the approved delay, the city extended both the site possession term for Flagstone and the lease delivery date for the marina until June 2, 2014, and also agreed — though not effortlessly — on the $20,000 monthly rent increase.
Flagstone has made a non-binding agreement with The Related Companies, a globally-known Miami-based condo developer, to develop the waterfront project and, said attorney Lucia Dougherty of Greenberg Traurig on behalf of Related, Flagstone plans to go back before the commission in November so it can make agreements with retailers and hotel partners.
At that time, she said, Flagstone will present a lease modification, assignment and a modification to the project itself.
The extension, she said, will help finish the project all at once, as opposed to in phases, the mode that was to begin in September.
It doesn’t mean, however, Ms. Dougherty said, that the project will be delayed, and the city will still receive the same amount as if the work started in September.
The city most recently had amended its lease with Flagstone in February 2010 for a mega-yacht marina and mixed-use waterfront development project on Watson Island that is to include two luxury hotels, private residences, a marina with a 450-foot yacht capacity, and retail tenants along the waterfront.
Numerous delays, including the economic slide and port tunnel dredging, have for years held back Flagstone’s plans, which the city initially approved in 2001.
Now, the Flagstone team has new partners joining it to create the 11-acre iconic water-oriented destination between downtown Miami and Miami Beach that developer Jorge Perez of Related said will have a retail mix at a level somewhere between that of Bal Harbour and Dadeland Mall — but on an activated pedestrian-oriented waterfront.
The current concept, according to Mr. Perez, is to have an entertainment area entirely on the water and to have one luxury and one ultra-luxury hotel, in addition to mid- to upper-level retailers and the marina.
The resolution the city passed only delays the marina’s start, he said, not the total project’s completion.
In fact, Mr. Perez told commissioners, the hope — if developers can move fast — is to finish by 2016.
Still, he said, of the delay, "it is very important in our opinion that this project is completed as a whole. Everything must come in at one time so we have a total development concept that works."
"This is sort of a crowning achievement for me," he said. "This will be an amazing, amazing job that I think will be magnificent for Miami."
Commissioners agreed, though Frank Carollo stated concerns about the city getting market value for its site. To read the entire issue of Miami Today online, subscribe to e-MIAMI TODAY, an exact digital replica of the printed edition.