The owner of the Mall of America, Minnesota, wants to build a biggest nation's mall in northwestern Miami-Dade.Triple Five Group intend constructing a 200-acre complex with an artificial ski slope, sea lions, Legoland and submarines. The cost of the mall at the intersection of Insterstate 75 and Florida’s Turnpike close to Miami Lakes, is around $4bn.
This massive deal was revealed by the mayor of Miami-Dade, Carlos Gimenez, who said the construction will provide a historic boost to the economy of the country. He added that the owners, Triple Five, are not seeking free land or funding from the government, but are looking at erecting a theme park which will attract visitors from around the world and offer thousands of jobs.
The plan for American Dream Miami is modeled on another East Coast expansion by the owners. The plan for the New Jersey project is a three million square foot complex, including a domed indoor amusement park containing a water park, Ferris Wheel and roller coaster. Development for this project was delayed due to complications with financing, but according to Triple Five, the project should open during next year.
The proposed plans for the Miami project indicate a live sea-lion show on the eastern section of the complex, with an indoor ski slope to be placed on its western area. The northern part of the complex will offer submarine rides and in the south, there is to be a skating rink, water park, miniature golf and indoor gardens, along with condominiums and hotels.
There is no specification of the dimensions of the proposed project, but according to officials, it is expected to be bigger than the Mall of America.
Triple Five should be able to proceed with the project once the land zoning has been completed as the site is placed within the Urban Development Boundary of the county.
This venture remained a secret until Thursday, although it has been in the pipeline for at least 12 months. Most of the 200 acres will be obtained via a deal with Graham Companies, around 80 acres belong to Florida State and the school system in Miami-Dade holds a lease on a huge part of the state parcel.
Triple Five has offered compensation of $7m to the school system for them to waive leasing rights. If agreed upon, Miami-Dade would then purchase the land from the state. Triple Five has been asked $11m for the land belonging to the state, with Miami-Dade County acting as a pass-through. These proposals will be given consideration by the school board and county commissioners later during this month.
Triple Five is a Canadian company started by Jacob Ghermezian, an Iranian rug dealer, during the late 1950s. It opened its first mall in West Edmonton during the 1980s. The owner, along with his four sons, are pioneers in building malls so large that they could act as tourist attractions, with the Mall of America attracting around 42 million annual visitors.
Triple Five’s Miami venture is being planned in the face of a turn away from extravagant ventures during the past few years. The Malaysian casino group, Genting, retracted plans to erect the largest global casino in downtown Miami. Its more modest version has been stalled amid a gambling law debate.
Other large projects which have not won support include David Beckham’s bid to build a soccer stadium on the Miami waterfront or at PortMiami. Although Jeffrey Berkowitz, the developer, won backing for his observation tower, it is now in the midst of a lawsuit over county funding.
As far as the job creation goes, it is believed that most will not be well-paying jobs as retail outlets and tourist attractions traditionally offer low-paying jobs. However, they will be creating thousands of jobs anyway.