Plans for SkyRise Miami, the much-talked-about future observation tower near Bayside Marketplace in downtown, continue to trudge on. The biggest question left is how the project's mastermind, developer Jeff Berkowitz, is going to pool together the estimated $430 million price tag to build it.
Well, today Berkowitz announced that SkyRise has inked a management and investment deal with Legends Hospitality Group. You've perhaps never heard of Legends, but you've certainly heard of its owners. The company is a joint venture of two of the most storied franchises in all of
Notably, the group also manages the observation deck at One World Trade Center.
The announcement comes just months after Berkowitz decided not to seek any public funding for the project.
As part of the deal, Berkowitz says that Legends "will be responsible for the overall development and operation of the SkyRise experience, creating innovative guest interactions and food & beverage offerings, executing marketing, programming and sales strategies, and overseeing day-to-day management of the distinctive vertical attraction."
Legends is also investing in the project (though no word on how much money) and will have some input into the final design of the tower.
Legends came into being in 2008 when a Goldman Sachs executive brokered a deal between Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to start a company that would manage concessions and merchandise sales in each of the team's stadiums.
The company now counts the Los Angeles Angels, San Francisco 49ers, Manchester City F.C., and
"We are honored to partner with and invest in SkyRise Miami, an innovative, state-of-the-art space considered by many to represent a 'symbol of the New
Legends has also extended into the observation deck business as well. In addition to the One World Observatory in New York, they'll also manage the experiences at the OUE Skyspace LA. Perhaps you've seen that last project pop up on your Facebook feed recently. It's the one that will feature a glass slide atop a skyscraper.
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SkyRise Miami will also have some high-elevation thrills. Plans for the 990-foot tower include "SkyPlunge," a thrill attraction that will let visitors bungee jump off of the tower; "SkyDrop," an amusement park-style drop ride; and "SkyRise Flying Theater," which is meant to simulate the thrill of flying over South Florida. However, Legends will now have input that could change the lineup of attractions.
Berkowitz is still in the market for other investors. He plans to secure up to half of the funding from offshore investors through the EB-5 visa program.
The partnership with Legends is the surest sign in a long time that the project is still very much in the works. The announcement today gave a projected opening date of 2020.