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Old Posted Apr 15, 2015, 8:38 PM
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chris08876 chris08876 is offline
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Mega-mall project in Northwest Miami-Dade wins state approval for land deal

A land deal at the heart of an ambitious plan to bring the largest mall in America to northwest Miami-Dade County got the green light Tuesday from Gov. Rick Scott and Cabinet members.

In a unanimous vote in Tallahassee, the four-member Cabinet approved 82 acres of state land to Miami-Dade for $12.3 million. The county will then sell it for the same amount to American Dream Miami developer Triple Five.

Some of South Florida’s largest malls urged the Cabinet to reject the American Dream deal, an early sign of the fight ahead for Triple Five as it pursues a shopping destination large enough to have its own indoor ski slope and sea-lion habitat.

“Government should not be deciding winners and losers,” said Shobi Khan, chief operating officer of General Growth Properties, which owns the nearby Pembroke Lakes Mall, as well as downtown Miami’s Bayside Marketplace. “This process has lacked transparency in terms of a formal bidding process. And for the Florida taxpayers, they’re not getting fair compensation for this land.”

The approved transaction allows Triple Five to avoid potential competition in the state’s surplus-land protocols, which give local counties first shot at any spare real estate before it goes up for sale. It also marked an early win for Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, whose administration spent the last year negotiating the American Dream deal in secret and then won quick approval for it last month from the county commission.

With American Dream projecting as many as 25,000 full-time jobs and a $4 billion construction project, Gimenez touts the project as a historic economic boon for Miami-Dade. Critics, including mayoral candidate Raquel Regalado, portray American Dream as bringing mostly low-paying retail jobs and traffic woes. Triple Five owns the Mall of America in Minnesota, and sees Miami able to support an even larger destination.

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