Berkowitz gives up on seeking county funds for SkyRise Miami

Retraction came amid possible settlement of lawsuit against SkyRise

Apr.April 07, 2016 03:45 PM

Rendering of the SkyRise Miami tower

Developer Jeff Berkowitz has reportedly given up on his search for $9 million in county funding for his SkyRise Miami project, saying he’ll move forward without it.

The developer said he didn’t meet county requirements for the $9 million grant, which was funded by property taxes, according to the Miami Herald. He submitted a letter dated March 30 to county officials formally retracting his team’s application.

At least one person touted Berkowitz’s retraction as a victory, according to the Herald: “This is a huge win for every resident of Miami-Dade County,” said Raquel Regalado, the School Board member who’s running for county mayor.

Regalado, along with billionaire Norman Braman, had filed suit last year to prevent public funding of SkyRise, arguing that its approval by a 2014 referendum was under the assumption that it was to be privately funded.

According to the Herald, Regalado said Berkowitz’s retracted application came while the two parties were working on a settlement for the suit. No such agreement has been posted in the county’s online records for Regalado V. Miami (the suit originally named the city and county as defendants).

Berkowitz’s lawyer confirmed to the Herald that the case was settling, though the developer plans to ask for a judge to drop the case now that his application for county funds is retracted.

He also said the loss of $9 million in possible funding won’t prevent SkyRise Miami, a $430 million project, from moving forward. The project was approved in early 2015 for the EB-5 program and Berkowitz previously said he wants to raise as much as $270 million from foreign investors.

The latest news comes a little over half a year after Florida’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of SkyRise in a suit that claimed its lease with landlord General Growth Properties violated the city of Miami’s charter. [Miami Herald]  Sean Stewart-Muniz

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