Developers Triple Five, a company based in Canada that runs multiple malls across America, and The Graham Companies, based in Miami Lakes, has proposed a plan titled American Dream Miami, a tremendous theme park consisting of an abundant amount of entertainment that could possibly rival that of Orlando. The pitch is expected to help Miami-Dade economically, giving 15,000 people an opportunity for employment.
While there are many supporters of this project, others don’t approve of it. Many advocates, such as lawyer and lobbyist Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, say this park will help Miami-Dade. He says, “You get to create an engine that will drive this economy. American Dream Miami is an economic-development project, first and foremost.” Yet some people, like the head of research for Florida Tax Watch, Robert Weissert, don’t agree that the project will help solve economic troubles in Miami, and that it may cause traffic problems. “There’s no net economic benefit from this project for the county”, said Weissert just last week in a board meeting. “The jobs that are created are being destroyed in other places. They’re being cannibalized, they’re being displaced. Jobs leave from one area and go to this project.”
This is basically a battle between the developers of this project, Triple Five and The Graham Companies, and the South Florida Taxpayers Alliance, which is made up of the owners of three main Miami malls: Dolphin Mall, Miami International Mall, and Bayside Marketplace. Next May, there will be a vote that will decide whether or not the plans continue for this park, as long as it survives the preliminary vote next January.
At the hearing composed last Tuesday to talk about the $3 billion proposal, Eskandar Ghermezian, head of Triple Five, confronted the mall owners who were standing in the back, ready to decline the $3 billion. At the meeting, he raised his voice, saying, “If you are a homeowner, you have all the rights to be here, but if you are a developer, or a shopping-center owner standing in the back there, to oppose me, they have no right to be here!”
There’s an obvious back and forth going on here between mall owners, and developers and supporters of the American Dream Miami, and it is still unclear which direction this project is taking, only time will tell.