A Malaysian gambling conglomerate's
plans to convert the Miami Herald headquarters and surrounding
properties into a
luxury resort casino has prompted one county commissioner to seek
more control over redevelopment of the Omni neighborhood.
proposal by Sally Heyman, one of the 13 county commissioners would
become a member of Miami's Omni Community Redevelopment Agency, which
doles out millions of taxpayer dollars for projects that create jobs
and economic development in the neighborhood.
Heyman's idea is likely to face opposition from Miami city commissioners, who currently serve as the CRA's executive board. The idea will be discussed at a county commission committee meeting September 13. Heyman, who could not be immediately reached for comment, suggests the county play hardball by refusing to grant the city and the CRA an unrelated change to the agreement unless a county commissioner gets a seat at the table.
This past June, Miami Herald parent McClatchy Co. sold the headquarters and surrounding lots, about 13.9 acres of waterfront land, for $236 million. Genting Malaysia Berhad, the company that bought the land, wants to build Resorts World Miami, a project that will include restaurants, shops, entertainment and commercial facilities, and residential towers. The company also would like to include a casino (subject to a change in state law that would allow gaming on the site). It claims the project will cost an estimated $3 billion to develop.
Last month, the Daily Business Review eported that Genting also purchased 3.6 acres of mostly vacant land west of Biscayne Boulevard in the Omni District, which is also home to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.
The county has been trying to get a CRA seat for the past three years, says City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff. He told Banana Republican the Genting angle might be a ruse. "No one from Genting has
suggested they need any money or demonstrated that they want any
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money from the CRA," Sarnoff says. "As a matter of fact, Genting
has done the opposite. They are talking about what they can bring to