Including a tower in plans for America’s largest mall, to be built right here in South Florida, doesn’t make enough of an architectural statement.
Instead, the entire mega mall proposed near the edge of the Everglades should be built in the shape of a giant, extended middle finger.
That’s the real message this enormous retail folly sends. It’s a monument to the notion that we will build whatever we want, wherever we want, no matter the consequences.
It was one thing to drain half of the Everglades through the decades to make way for farming and South Florida’s out-of-control development. At least we got food and places to live as a tradeoff for wrecking the River of Grass.
But now we are going to take land that used to be part of the Everglades to build a mall complex big enough for an indoor ski slope. And a waterpark. And a submarine ride.
At a time when online shopping is shuttering other malls across the country, American Dream Miami developers say more people will flock to their mall each year than Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Seems like economic Fantasy Land.
And what if they do? Mall backers expect 30 million visitors a year. How will South Florida’s already-clogged roads handle this influx of snow-skiing shoppers?
Broward officials have raised traffic concerns, but that didn’t stop Miami-Dade’s planning advisory board from giving its thumbs-up to the project this week. The Miami-Dade County Commission could give its blessing on May 17.
It’s hard for Broward to shake its finger at its neighbors to the south for allowing over-the-top building plans on the edge of the Everglades.
A drive along the Sawgrass Expressway, with the Everglades on one side and sprawling neighborhoods on the other, takes you past a hockey arena as well as the Sawgrass Mills mall.
American Dream Miami is just a bigger, badder incarnation of the middle finger South Florida development has been shooting at the Everglades for decades.
Developers will keep angling to use every bit of land left east of what remains of the Everglades, even as they keep trying to push that dividing line farther into the struggling swamp. We have to snow ski somewhere.
By Andy Reid