The Real Deal Miami

Watson Island developer gets five more weeks to pay overdue rent

December 22, 2009 06:03PM

Mehmet Bayraktar, the Flagstone Property Group head who owes the city of Miami $500,000 in overdue rent on the Watson Island property he has been planning to develop for the past eight years, was granted a five-week reprieve today, despite Miami commissioners’ calls last week for his immediate payments. Bayraktar had appeared before the commissioners last Thursday, where he promised to repay his debts by releasing the money held in escrow in time for a special meeting called for today. If he failed to do so, the city was to cut ties with Flagstone and find another use for the property. But when Bayraktar’s former attorney filed a motion in court to obtain those escrow funds in order to recover money she claims he owes her, the commissioners said they would allow Bayraktar until the end of January for that dispute to get resolved. Attorneys for both the city and for Flagstone said the motion was likely to be overturned quickly. If Bakraytar does succeed in coming up with the funds next month, he would still be seeking his fourth extension in eight years for beginning construction on his planned Flagstone Island Gardens complex, which is now expected to cost more than $600 million, and for which his problems with obtaining financing have been well-documented.