City Planners: Multibillion Dollar Project Too Ambitious

Two Miami developers seem to have a truly rich instinct for terrible timing. Let's review: Banks, titans of industry,and pretty much every stalwart institution left on Wall Street are crumbling like dust.

Everyone from retailers to bakers to retirees are feeling the shockwaves. And from downtown Miami to Brickell, unfinished condo towers packed with unsold units tower over the skyline.

Against this sunny backdrop, those two developers went before the Miami Planning Advisory Board last night with a doozy of a dream.

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Their plan, called Miami Worldcenter, would transform nine blocks and 25 acres behind the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts into hotels, restaurants, schools and homes. It would cost billions of dollars.

Ambitious? You've got to give them that. Crazy? Well, it's difficult not to connect the plan to another wildly ambitious vision of Miami's future. Sure, the Worldcenter may not have a Jetsons-esque 1,000-foot tower like Interama, but in the midst of a staggering economy, developing 25-acres in the heart of downtown seems just about as unlikely.

Miami city planners seem to agree. They voted last night 6-2 to table the idea, supposedly to get more "public input" on the plan.

Riptide's going to go ahead and hazard a guess as to what that "public input" will sound like: WTF are you thinking?!

-- Tim Elfrink

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