Breaking down the Miami Riverside Wharf ballot question

Rendered courtesy of MV Real Estate Holdings and Driftwood Capital

Miami put a ballot question voters in this August 23 election to decide whether the city should extend a lease for Quay by the riverthat real estate developers want to reorganize into a huge hotel and entertainment center on the water’s edge.

Catch up fast: In 2016, voters agreed to lease public land on the east bank of the Miami River for 30 years with options to extend to 50 years. A year later, the site became the hip nightlife spot The Wharf.

  • Now the developers are planning two 10-story towers, including a 165-room Dream Hotel, event hall, nightclub and rooftop day club. A revised version of The Wharf would feature a seafood market, and there would also be a deep-water marina.
  • The project would occupy two acres, part of which is owned by the city. The developers, who are requesting a 50-year lease extension, own the adjacent land.

What they say : Alex Mantecon, co-developer of Riverside Wharf, told Axios that a longer lease is needed to secure the financing needed to build the $185 million project.

  • His group took over the city-owned site of a fishing business that was paying about $25,000 a year in rent, he said. Developers are now paying over $200,000, and that amount would increase by 50%.
  • “It’s a parcel that, without owning the neighboring property, really becomes an undevelopable site,” Mantecon said. “We’re trying to create something that’s going to redefine what the Miami River is.”

Yes, but: Allowing private entities to use public land is always a contentious issue.

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