Archives for the ‘ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS’ Category

Formerly Contaminated Development Site In North Miami Beach Sells For $21 Million

A development site in North Miami Beach that underwent remediation to rid it of contamination has sold for $21.14 million.

Attorneys Kerry E. Rosenthal, Eduardo Rasco, Heather A. Scott and Melissa Groisman, all of Rosenthal Rosenthal Rasco, said they represented the seller in the deal for the 17.8-acre site at 15780 W. Dixie Highway. It was sold by Moore 77 LLC, managed by Vitali Rosenthal, to New North Equities, managed by Hector Mendez in Aventura and Gabriel Boano in Bay Harbor Islands. The buyer received a $9.15 million mortgage from New Wave Loans Residential.

The attorneys from Rosenthal Rosenthal Rasco were hired to resolve litigation surrounding the property. According to Rosenthal, the deal was originally set to close in January 2016, but the Keiser Family Living Trust filed a lawsuit in Broward County Circuit Court seeking to rescind the sale of the property to Antigua at NMB Development, the company that sold Moore 77 LLC the property for $17 million in 2014.

Moore 77 LLC was named in the lawsuit but it couldn’t sell the property until the case was resolved. The case was settled after after almost a year of litigation, clearing the way for the sale.

Formerly a TECO Gas and People’s Gas site, the property was remediated over several years to clear it of contamination. It has development rights for up to 2,300 residential units and 2.5 million square feet of commercial space with heights of up to 20 stories.


Source: SFBJ

S&P Warns Zika Harm To Miami-Dade Tourism Is Inevitable

A top credit agency warned that Zika will hurt tourism in Miami-Dade, with the only question being “how much” damage the mosquito-borne virus does to an industry key to local government revenues.

Standard & Poor’s said it was too early to say whether Miami-Dade’s bond rating — which scores a government’s ability to repay debt — would be hurt by a Zika travel warning coming to Miami Beach. The agency maintained its AA credit rating for Miami-Dade (defined as “very strong”) and its stable outlook, suggesting S&P sees no immediate change to the county’s financial forecast.

Authors of the report wrote that Miami-Dade’s real estate market should provide enough of a buffer to avoid budget disruptions if taxes tied to tourist spending dip because of Zika. The key question, S&P said, was how big of a hit Zika will deliver to the region’s tourism market.

“The real question is not if Zika will affect tourism and related revenues, but by how much,” S&P analyst HilarySutton said in the report.

Moody’s, an S&P competitor in the debt-rating industry, issued a similar advisory earlier this month, about a week after Miami’s Wynwood came under a federal travel advisory warning pregnant women against going there.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention imposed the same advisory on parts of Miami Beach, including much of South Beach, which is Miami-Dade’s most popular destination. The CDC also for the first time advised pregnant women and their partners “to consider postponing nonessential travel to all parts of Miami-Dade County.” Despite the warnings and national media attention, tourism officials, hoteliers and restaurateurs have not reported a downturn.

“So far, we have not seen any impact,” said Robert Finvarb, a longtime hotel owner. His portfolio includes two hotels in Miami Beach’s Zika zone: the Hyatt Centric in South Beach, and a Marriott Courtyard on 15th Street.

Finvarb said he sees media coverage as the biggest threat to his business. He pointed to alarm over Zika in the run up to the Rio Olympics, and how little attention the issue got once the games were under way.

“It’s the most overblown thing I’ve ever seen,” Finvarb said. “We haven’t seen any cancellations.”

Miami’s Wynwood came under a federal travel advisory warning pregnant women against going there.

Miami’s Wynwood came under a federal travel advisory warning pregnant women against going there.

Hotel taxes, the broadest measure of travel demand in Miami-Dade, are growing at their slowest rates since the 2008 financial crisis. The available numbers only track sales through June, weeks before the Aug. 1 travel advisory in Wynwood went into effect. Taxes are up about 3 percent over last year, but the county’s budget office is lowering its revenue forecast for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.

Vacationers provide two key revenue sources for Miami-Dade: hotel taxes, which max out at 6 percent, and sales taxes, which cost 7 percent countywide. Sales taxes fund general government expenses at the state, county and city level, while two special half-percent sales taxes subsidize local transportation expenses and Miami-Dade’s Jackson hospital system. Restaurant taxes, also boosted by tourism, fund countywide programs to help the homeless and domestic-violence victims.

Hotel taxes mostly fund sports stadiums, museums, cultural institutions and tourism marketing. But the dollars also have been used to replace property taxes at the county’s parks department in recent years, freeing up property-tax dollars to go elsewhere in the budget.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez recently raised the issue of a hotel-tax downturn with Florida Gov. Rick Scott, suggesting he would like the state to compensate Miami-Dade for lost revenue.

“The tourist dollars that we get to fund culture and other programs are probably going to be affected,” Gimenez said at a Monday community meeting in Miami. “So we hope the state can help us out with those matters.”

In the Aug. 8 Moody’s report, analysts said the tourism fallout on Zika will depend on how long it lasts. While summer is the slowest time for local hotels, business ramps up in the fall, with winter launching the “high” season that runs through Memorial Day. Like Moody’s, S&P said the current situation is too unpredictable to forecast how severe the Zika damage will be.

“At this point, it is difficult to estimate how much tourism will be affected by the latest or any future travel advisories, increased knowledge of how the virus affects people, and whether a vaccine can be developed before the start of the high tourism season,” the S&P report said.


“I’ve been at S&P for 11 years,” Sutton said in an interview. “I can’t really think of something that is similar.”


Source: Miami Herald

Genting Group Floats Unique Miami Marina Proposal

Malaysian firm Genting Group has floated a unique proposal to environmental regulators in Florida in hopes of receiving permission to build a 50-yacht marina on a waterfront site it owns in downtown Miami.

Genting Group, which is behind the huge Resorts World Genting development in its home nation along with Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa, has been seeking approval to open a casino on the 14-acre plot along Biscayne Bay since 2013 and wants the development to include a marina.

Genting is asking the Miami-Dade County’s Department Of Regulatory And Economic Resources to allow it to transfer existing boat-slip permits from properties along the Miami River three miles away to its downtown site.

Genting Group is asking the Miami-Dade County’s Department Of Regulatory And Economic Resources to allow it to transfer existing boat-slip permits from properties along the Miami River three miles away to its downtown site.

According to a report from the Miami Herald newspaper, the casino giant was rumored to be interested in selling the land after state lawmakers failed to pass expanded casino gambling legislation. But, Genting Group now seems committed to staying with the development after allegedly asking the Miami-Dade County’s Department Of Regulatory And Economic Resources to allow it to transfer existing boat-slip permits from properties along the Miami River three miles away to its downtown site.

Under current regulations designed to protect the local manatee population, the downtown Miami property, which Genting Group purchased in 2011 for $236 million, is limited to no more than eight slips should the operator win the approval of local officials. However, a July 5 letter from Kirk Lofgren of Ocean Consulting has suggested transferring 42 permits now attached to Austral Marina on the Miami River along with those held by three neighboring parcels owned by the wealthy Matheson family.

Lofgren serves as a consultant to Genting Group’s Resorts World Miami subsidiary and revealed that the Matheson-owned sites are currently occupied by a marina and Apex Marine repair and maintenance boatyard. He suggested that relocating all of the slips would benefit manatees and outweigh the impacts of any new marina on Biscayne Bay.

Pamela Sweeney from the Department Of Regulatory And Economic Resources told the newspaper that such applications can take years while it took about a decade for one of the last major marinas on Biscayne Bay, Flagstone Properties’ facility on Watson Island, to be approved. Resort World Miami’s original request is due to expire in December and a new submission would be required should this first application fail to be approved by the deadline.

“The department has approved slip transfers before in close proximity to one another or immediately across a canal,” Sweeney told the Miami Herald. “In those situations, the manatees are not going to notice if a boat is coming from one side rather than the other.”

Resorts World Miami rendering

Resorts World Miami rendering

Lofgren’s letter moreover declared that the new Resorts World Miami marina could accommodate powerboats of up to 100-feet in length for long-term rentals only, which would eliminate daily or transient users while limiting nautical traffic that could pose a threat to manatees.

But, Miami-Dade regulators invited caution after further revealing that the proposed site is also classified as essential manatee habitat with a recent dive finding endangered sponges and coral as well as a threatened species of seagrass.


Source: World Casino News