Watson Island vote scheduled for Tuesday

Developer Mehmet Bayraktar of the Flagstone Group and a rendering of his Flagstone Island Gardens complex on Watson Island

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Support for developer Mehmet Bayraktar and his Flagstone Property Group, whose planned Flagstone Island Gardens complex on Watson Island is notoriously financially troubled, is waning amongst Miami officials as the company scrambles to pay back rent on the city-owned land. Commissioners were scheduled to vote last Thursday on whether the city would cut ties with Flagstone, but after a heated discussion, during which Miami City Commission chair Marc Sarnoff said the company had “certain credibility issues” in terms of its promises both in the past and present, the final vote has been delayed until tomorrow, as the city awaits a move from the developer to meet several conditions for its continued presence. The developer has recently been pleading for more time and has offered a $500,000 payment of back rent — unpaid since July — as well as a plan to document its expenditures of $46 million on the project in hopes of getting more time to line up financing. Miami City Commission chair Marc Sarnoff said he hopes the project can move forward and has faith in Bayraktar, but that he is more concerned that Watson Island become a source of revenue for the city. He recommended that the company be required to up its security deposit to cover possible future liens, and make a hefty $1 million rent prepayment in addition to paying the back rent immediately. TRD