February 13, 2013 | 9:43am
If you thought Miami-Dade County had nothing left to build at Miami International Airport, think again. Today, Aviation Department Director Jose Abreu will unveil the county's ambitious plan to convert the main terminal into a futuristic hotel and mall that will cost a little more than half-a-billion dollars.
The estimated $512 million project is being developed and financed by Odebrecht USA, a Brazilian company with a long history of building at MIA, including some of the airport's more controversial construction like the North Terminal, which also began as a half-a-billion job that ended up costing Miami-Dade $3 billion.
Under a deal with the aviation department, Odebrecht will run Airport City for half a century, paying rent and sharing a percentage of its retail revenue with the county. The plan has been in the works for almost five years. Abreu will announce today at the annual state of the ports address that the plan will go before county commissioners for approval next month, according to the Miami Herald
As Miami-Dade's primary economic driver, MIA has one of the highest landing fees in the country, making it less attractive for budget airlines. Abreu told the Miami Herald that finding other revenue streams will help the aviation department lower landing fees. Under the deal, Abreu is boasting the airport could receive as much as $580 million in revenues.
Here are the project's highlights:
• A $359 million business center, with corporate offices, meeting space, a hotel and a new station for the MIA Mover train;
• A $141 million hospitality center, featuring a four-star hotel and dining and meeting space, and;
• A $12 million convenience center, providing space for services such as a dry cleaner, convenience store, gas station and pet hotel/spa.
Follow Francisco Alvarado on Twitter: @thefrankness