CRA hiring demands newest roadblock for Miami Worldcenter

Miami Worldcenter first phase rendering
Miami Worldcenter first phase rendering

The mixed-use Miami Worldcenter project has reportedly met with some serious setbacks as of late.

The project was hit with a surprise roadblock when officials made a demand on increased minority hiring a condition in negotiating a property tax rebate, according to a published report.

The Southeast Overtown Park West Community Redevelopment Agency told the developer, Miami Worldcenter Associates LLC, that it wants them to hire 40 percent of its workforce and 30 percent of the subcontractors from inside the CRA boundaries, the Daily Business Journal reported. The demand includes paying an unspecified “living wage” to the workers. This was a significant shift from an earlier deal on zoning entitlements in which the developer would make a bona fide effort to hire 25 percent of its workforce from Miami at a minimum rate of $12.83 an hour, the paper reported.

The rebate would see half of all the incremental property taxes paid by Miami Worldcenter, capped at $6.5 million a year, returned to the developer for 23 years starting in 2019.

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Despite the setback, the developer is “pushing aggressively” for approval of the project’s first phase, the Miami Herald reported.

The public got its first solid look at the plans for the Miami Worldcenter on Wednesday when a city advisory board vetted them.

Members of the Urban Development Review Board praised the benefits of the plan, but fretted over the towering design and the closure of city streets, according to the Herald.

The attorney for the developer asked the board to vote anyway so the developer could continue with the next step of the approval process rather than rework the plans.The board, in a non-binding vote, rejected the plan.

Worldcenter Managing Principal Nitin Motwani said in a statement:  “We respect the Board’s insight and will consider its recommendations as we review our plans for Miami Worldcenter’s first phase and prepare the site for construction beginning in early 2015.” [Daily Business Review] [Miami Herald] — William J. Gorta