Commissioners approve Miami Worldcenter street closures

Rendering of Bloomingdale’s at the Mall at Miami Worldcenter
Rendering of Bloomingdale’s at the Mall at Miami Worldcenter

City commissioners approved Miami Worldcenter’s request to close off sections of three downtown streets, but an attorney for the developer of a neighboring project hinted his client could legally challenge the closures.

With one of the commissioners absent during Thursday’s hearing, the commission voted 4-0 to turn over portions of Northeast Seventh and Ninth streets between Northeast Second and North Miami avenues, the Miami Herald reported. Miami Worldcenter plans to convert the streets into pedestrian-only public promenades. A piece of the third street, Northeast Eighth Street, would reopen to vehicles once the massive retail component of the project is finished.

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Opponents of the closures argued the city was giving away valuable square footage in exchange for a meager one-time fee of $184,000. But Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez said the city can’t be compensated for the streets because it doesn’t legally own them. The streets are dedicated to public use, with the property owner having ownership of the rights-of-way.

Leoncio de la Peña, an attorney who represents developer Chateau Group, said he has “grave concerns” about the closures. Chateau plans a downtown project that would be adjacent to the Worldcenter site. [Miami Herald]Eric Kalis