Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Business

American Dream Miami to become largest mall in U.S. after final approval

MIAMI — A gigantic $4 billion retail and entertainment complex won government approval Thursday after years of debate, greenlighting what promises to be the largest mall in North America, just a few miles from the environmentally sensitive Everglades.

The Miami-Dade County Commission voted 9-1 to approve American Dream Miami, which would be built on 175 acres (70 hectares) of now vacant land at the busy confluence of Interstate 75 and Florida’s Turnpike, northwest of Miami International Airport.

Plans call for hundreds of retail shops and restaurants, but the developers don’t want people to call it a mall. They’re pointing to its planned theme-park attractions such as an indoor ski slope, submarine ride, water park and skating rink, along with 2,000 hotel rooms.

"We’re not building a mall. We’re not in the mall business," said Don Ghermezian, president of Canada-based developer Triple Five. "This is a park that is meant to compete with the best parks in America."

American Dream Miami would be about 1.2 million square feet (111,400 square meters) larger than Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, a similar entertainment and retail center that was also developed by Triple Five and is now the largest on the continent.

Language also was added Thursday to ensure no taxpayer dollars will be spent on the Miami project.

Supporters say developers will follow environmental rules meant to protect the Everglades, and pay for measures to address traffic concerns.

Triple Five estimates it would draw some 30 million visitors a year and as many as 70,000 separate vehicle trips every day. Neighboring Broward County has threatened to sue if developers don’t address gridlock — and tens of millions of dollars have been pledged by Triple Five to widen roads, pay for additional buses and so forth.

"We’re talking about a tremendous increased volume of traffic," said Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, who cast the lone no vote.

Developers say the project — which still needs to obtain 32 local, state and federal permits — will create at least 14,000 permanent jobs, as well as thousands more during construction. Supporters pointed to that and many other envisioned economic plusses, and urged yes votes to help Miami compete against Orlando’s tourist mecca.

"It is the most significant project that has been done in Miami-Dade County," said Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz, whose district includes the complex. "It’s a good day for us."

Environmental groups say it’s too close to the Everglades, threatens the region’s drinking water, could be swamped by rising seas and will require vast amounts of electricity.

"This place is a treasure house of public lands, nature, wildlife and beauty," said Matt Schwartz, executive director of the South Florida Wildlands Association. "There is nothing positive about this project whatsoever."

Other opponents wore t-shirts that read "No Megamall, No Traffic" and "Say No to the American Nightmare Mall."

And that’s not all: Another developer, The Graham Companies, plans a separate construction project adjacent to the mall that would include office space, retail and 2,000 apartments.

Proponents say the critics should embrace the potentially vast impact the overall project could have on the entire South Florida region, which has never had a large theme park drawing tens of millions of tourists every year.

"This is a game changer. This is a watershed development for our community," said Commissioner Dennis Moss.

Comments
Dow drops sharply as two industrial giants warn of trouble

Dow drops sharply as two industrial giants warn of trouble

The Washington PostU.S. markets opened in a steep slide on one of the busiest earnings days of the year as a global sell-off and a disappointing report by 3M - a major industrial company that is a window into the U.S. economy - had nervous investors ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Looking to ‘cut the cord’? Consider an antenna

Looking to ‘cut the cord’? Consider an antenna

It’s no secret that Tampa Bay residents are "cutting the cord" and moving away from cable. But last month, when the Tampa Bay Times asked readers to reach out about the non-cable entertainment services they used, a common theme emerged — antennas.The...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Walmart to roll out delivery, return changes to compete with Amazon over holidays

Walmart to roll out delivery, return changes to compete with Amazon over holidays

Walmart says it will work with third-party sellers to make millions of items available for free two-day shipping on orders over $35.
Updated: 2 hours ago
Review: iPhone XR makes the right trade-offs for a cheaper price

Review: iPhone XR makes the right trade-offs for a cheaper price

Based on several days of testing, it looks like Apple made the right cost-cutting trade-offs with the XR, which starts selling Friday for about $750.
Updated: 3 hours ago
The Largo Safeway turned Publix will reopen soon, its Starbucks cafe intact

The Largo Safeway turned Publix will reopen soon, its Starbucks cafe intact

LARGO — The once Safeway and soon-to-be Publix will reopen Nov. 1, retaining some of fixtures from the California grocer’s store.Chief among them, the Starbucks and cafe seating near the front will stay put, said Publix spokesman Brian West. Tampa Ba...
Published: 10/23/18
Which candy will Floridians buy the most this Halloween?

Which candy will Floridians buy the most this Halloween?

Last year, Floridians’ trick-or-treat bowls were leaning toward Skittles. But a more savory — but still sugary — treat has taken over as the Sunshine State’s preferred candy this Halloween. The Snickers bar wins out, accordin...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Pinellas reports a concerning rise in Hepatitis A. Officials urge vaccination.

Pinellas reports a concerning rise in Hepatitis A. Officials urge vaccination.

Health department officials across Tampa Bay are encouraging residents to get vaccinated against hepatitis A, which is on the rise. As of this week, 58 cases of the virus have been reported in Pinellas this year, including a jump of 10 cases from Sep...
Published: 10/22/18
Tampa ranks No. 7 for complaints of tech support scams

Tampa ranks No. 7 for complaints of tech support scams

Ever receive a phony "tech support" email or call? In the city of Tampa, you’re not alone. Tampa has the dubious honor of ranking No. 7 on Microsoft’s list of nine cities with the highest number of complaints about such scams. Tampa’s total: 1,970 su...
Published: 10/22/18
Ron DeSantis says Florida public schools are wasting money. Are they?

Ron DeSantis says Florida public schools are wasting money. Are they?

Florida’s school leaders have made plain for years their desire for more money to run their districts. They’ve asked lawmakers for higher per-student funding, and the freedom to spend the money where it’s needed. They’ve requested more construction m...
Published: 10/22/18
Pasco Business Digest for Oct. 26

Pasco Business Digest for Oct. 26

News and notes about Pasco businesses
Published: 10/22/18