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Miami-Dade walks the plank after pressure from cruise line

NCL opposed the winning bid to design and build its new terminal at PortMiami
December 28, 2017 03:00PM

PortMiami (Credit: Wikipedia)

In an effort to take over development control of its new terminal at PortMiami, Norwegian Cruise Lines killed the top-ranked bid and is instead moving forward with a plan that will cost Miami-Dade County $19 million more, according to a Florida Bulldog report.

A selection committee – comprised of PortMiami officials, two NCL executives and county bureaucrats – chose Dragados USA’s $81 million bid. The bidders, who also included the Haskell Company and Munilla Construction Management, were given a $100 million budget, funds that are coming from fees PortMiami collects from cruise line companies.

After the county debunked Munilla’s $115 million plan for being too costly, NCL shot back with a letter of discontent, writing that the top two proposals failed to meet its commercial expectations and compared the designs to “boxy warehouses,” according to the publication.

The cruise line company said it was “beyond disappointed” with how the county handled the process, Florida Bulldog reported.

And days after NCL submitted the letter, the county rejected all bids for the terminal project, giving NCL the freedom to select the firm that will design and build the multimillion-dollar terminal. In exchange, Norwegian will commit to berthing at least 52 ships of 3,000 passengers or more at the new terminal annually. It also expects to increase its annual operations at another terminal.

Dragados USA’s proposal would have saved the county $19 million in development costs. Norwegian agreed to pay any costs that top the county’s $100 million budget, according to the Florida Bulldog.

It’s not the first time the county leans in favor of the powerful cruise line industry. In 2014, Miami-Dade officials abandoned a plan for David Beckham’s Major League Soccer stadium on Dodge Island — where the seaport is located. [Florida Bulldog] – Amanda Rabines