County commission approves Miami Worldcenter tax district

Deal will help fund $72 million in area improvements

Jul.July 15, 2015 12:45 PM

Miami-Dade County commissioners approved a proposed special tax district for the massive Miami Worldcenter project, despite an outpouring of opposition from Overtown residents and workers.

The plan allows the project to essentially tax itself to finance $72 million in improvements to public infrastructure, which county government might not otherwise be able to fund. Owners inside the Worldcenter development would reportedly foot the bill through a special assessment on property taxes.

The district was unanimously approved by commissioners, despite a contentious meeting that saw opposition from Overtown residents and labor unions. A chunk of the audience even turned their backs on developer Nitin Motwani when he rose to speak, the Miami Herald reported. Their argument was that the district would funnel the neighborhood’s property taxes into Miami Worldcenter, with little benefit to residents.

On the other hand, supporters said the creation of jobs will be a welcome advantage to a blighted neighborhood.

“The Miami Worldcenter Community Development District will open the door to privately-funded infrastructure upgrades in an area of downtown Miami that has been under-served for decades,” Motwani said in a statement. “We’re eager to move forward in transforming our neighborhood when construction begins this quarter, creating thousands of new jobs and attracting additional investment to downtown in the process.”

Worldcenter is a $1.7 billion mixed-use project that will blanket 27 acres of Overtown and downtown Miami when completed. The development is breaking ground soon on its first phase, which will include a Marriott Marquis hotel and convention center, the Paramount Miami Worldcenter condo tower, a rental tower by developer ZOM and a 765,000-square-foot shopping center. [Miami Herald]Sean Stewart-Muniz

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