Broward commissioners don’t want to see American Dream Miami turn into a nightmare for county residents and commuters, but the commission has no vote on the Miami-Dade County project.
The massive $4 billion shopping mall, indoor theme park and hotel is planned for 174 acres between the Florida Turnpike’s Homestead extension and Interstate 75.
On Tuesday, Commissioner Nan Rich said she wouldn’t mind seeing the whole project go away — and traffic problems just might be the cause.
“I think the roads are one way where this could possibly be halted,” Rich said.
Developer Triple Five Worldwide’s project includes 3.5 million square feet of retail space, 1.5 million square feet of entertainment and up to 2,000 hotel rooms. Some of its features could include an indoor ski slope, a large theme park, a water park, plenty of restaurants, an aquarium and a professionally sized ice hockey rink.
In a related development on 340 acres south of the destination mall, Graham Properties is proposing to build up to 3 million square feet of business, 1 million square feet of commercial space and 2,000 rental apartments.
The project would require additional ramps to Interstate 75 and commissioners want to make sure the state doesn’t give priority to those ramps over ones the county has been seeking on I-75 and the Sawgrass Expressway to serve Sawgrass Mills, the BB&T Center and the $1.5 billion Metropica project planned for Sunrise.
Commissioner Beam Furr said the county needs to make sure its lobbyists put the county’s interests first and not the project’s when lobbying the state. Brian Ballard, for example, represents the county and International Atlantic LLC, one of the project developers. Other International Atlantic lobbyists registered for the state legislative session also lobby for the Broward property appraiser and the sheriff’s office, according to state records.
“I want to make sure for our lobbyists, there is not a conflict of interest,” Furr said. “That needs to be absolutely clear.”
The South Florida Regional Planning Council last week made the project’s approval contingent on making sure already crowded roadways aren’t overwhelmed. The council’s unanimous approval sent the project to the state for review.
In other action on Tuesday, Broward commissioners:
- Agreed to purchase 6 million gallons a day of drinking water storage capacity for $27.6 million in a C-51 Reservoir being constructed on property owned by Palm Beach Aggregates LLC in Palm Beach County. Projected annual debt payments of $2.1 million could result in increased water fees of about $1.11 a month for a single-family homeowner using about 5,000 gallons of water a month.
- Agreed the county would fight any effort to deny it federal funding that might result from President Donald Trump’s executive order regarding sanctuary cities. But they withheld action on a proposed resolution that said the county has never called itself a sanctuary jurisdiction, with Commissioner Nan Rich saying the resolution could be seen as “kowtowing” or “capitulating to the bullying” from Trump.
- Delayed creating zoning rules about where medical marijuana dispensaries can be located in the county until May 9, after the state legislative session ends. Commissioners want to see what rules legislators come up with first.
- Approved transferring $1.3 million to the Sheriff’s Office to support staffing of detention officers at the new Broward County Courthouse tower.
- Approved Mayor Barbara Sharief’s participation in an Enterprise Florida export trade mission to Argentina on April 23-27, joining Gov. Rick Scott and others to promote local businesses. The county’s cost will be about $2,500.
- Approved giving administrators up to 60 days to finalize contract negotiations for temporary leased space for the State Attorney’s Office. Commissioners agreed to leasing space for the office in December.
by Larry Barszewski