Three sets of bidders compete for Rickenbacker Marina redevelopment

Bids include new public spaces, restaurants, watersports and automated boat storage

Rendering of Marina PARC's proposed redevelopment
Rendering of Marina PARC's proposed redevelopment

Three teams have submitted bids for the city of Miami’s latest attempt to redevelop Rickenbacker Marina on Virginia Key, The Real Deal has confirmed.

This time around, RCI Group, the company that won a competitive bid last year that was nixed by city commissioners, is teaming up with the formerly second place finisher, Suntex. And, Aabad Melwani, the current operator of the Rickenbacker Marina is joining forces with Key International to also compete for the hotly contested redevelopment plan. The third bidder is led by Fort Meyers-based commercial construction firm GCM Contracting Solutions.

Melwani, who was part of the third-place team in last year’s competition, and Key formed Marina PARC to create a proposal that will bring new public spaces, restaurants and an automated boat storage facility to the marina, according to a release. The Marina PARC team also includes Stantec, TKS Watersports, HistoryMiami, Garcia Brothers Seafood, Raymond Jungles, and Integra Realty.

“Our family has taken great care in our stewardship of Rickenbacker Marina,” Melwani said in a statement. “Now we’ve assembled a remarkable team of local entrepreneurs with a clear vision for creating new public spaces, enhanced waterfront access, and world-class amenities for boaters.”

Rendering of Marina PARC’s proposed redevelopment

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Marina PARC’s master plan, designed by Stantec’s Miami office, proposes an expansive baywalk with sweeping views of the city skyline; a publicly accessible boat launch, a pavilion and cafe; a watersports concession stand; two restaurants and expanded public space that will be used for outdoor events. For the boating community, Marina PARC wants to bring in a state-of-the-art automated dry rack facility, floating piers, and wet slips capable of accommodating vessels from 40- to 120-feet.

Rendering of Marina PARC’s proposed redevelopment

Key International co-president Diego Ardid said in the release that Marina PARC’s proposal is also environmentally conscious. “Any development that takes shape at the Rickenbacker Marina must be done responsibly and with the environment’s best interests in mind,” Ardid said.

Efforts to reach the other bidders were unsuccessful. RCI chairman Bob Christoph Sr. is on vacation until May 29. Executives for Suntex did not return two phone messages seeking comment. Officials for GCM also did not return a phone message seeking comment.

Last year, RCI won a competition to redevelop Rickenbacker marina and the boating facility at Marine Stadium by submitting a $100 million proposal that included the construction of an oblong, two-story building, a public baywalk, new boat slips in the basin, and a dry-storage boat facility that would use an automated system to retrieve vessels instead of fork lifts. Suntex offered an $84 million project consisting of more than 1,300 dry and wet slips, a yacht club, Fresh Market and a 30,000-square-foot Marine Max showroom.

But Miami Commissioner Ken Russell convinced his colleagues to scuttle negotiations with RCI after arguing that city residents deserved to have more input in the redevelopment of both marinas.