Miami airport retail stores ask for rent break after Hurricane Irma

Passenger traffic at the airport plunged 20% in September

Oct.October 13, 2017 01:30 PM

Miami International Airport (Credit: MIA)

Nationwide the retail environment is tough enough, but throw in a hurricane, and it gets tougher. At least that’s what a group of Miami International Airport retailers and concessionaires said in a letter to MIA’s director Emilio González, last month.

After shutting down for three days during Hurricane Irma, retail stores and restaurants are now asking for a rent break through 2018 to recover their lost revenue, according to the Miami Herald.

Airport spokesman Greg Chin told the Herald that suspending minimum rents would cost the county-owned facility about $9 million a year in lost revenues. One way of covering the costs, he said, would be to increase landing fees, which will the jump the price of flights for passengers.

Miami’s status as a global destination has helped retailers in South Florida through rough patches, but airport figures for September show a 20 percent plunge in passenger traffic, according to the Herald.

In the letter, Cafe Versailles, NewsLink, Super Shuttle and others called the decline in sales catastrophic. “It is our educated opinion that it is going to take at least a year before our businesses will fully recover from this natural disaster,” the letter read.

Businesses typically carry interruption insurance to cover for lost sales. County officials are skeptical suspending rents for a year could help, according to the Herald.

“We don’t give people property-tax breaks due to a storm,” Esteban “Steve” Bovo, chairman of the Miami-Dade County Commission, said, according to the Herald. “I’m not buying this issue. Of, for three days of downtime, having a full-year extension. The math just doesn’t add up.” [Miami Herald]Amanda Rabines

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