The Real Deal Miami

Watson development breaks ground

October 30, 2008 10:37AM

Island Gardens, the hotel and retail project slated for Miami’s Watson Island, held a groundbreaking on Wednesday while still awaiting the construction loans needed to start building the $640 million complex. Slated to contain a mall, luxury marina hotel and high-end ”fractional residential” tower, Island Gardens hopes to borrow about 65 percent of the project’s cost in a hostile lending environment. Developer Mehmet Bayraktar remains confident, pointing to a 35 percent funding commitment from himself and ING Clarion, and more than 140 reservations to purchase ”fractional” residential shares on the city-owned site. His workers will begin preparing the property for construction in hopes of laying a foundation by the spring. He faces a February 2010 deadline from Miami to finalize the deal.