Miami-Dade approves interim contract for monorail to Miami Beach

Contract marks the first step in approving nearly $600M system across MacArthur Causeway

Miami /
Oct.October 20, 2020 06:53 PM
A rendering of the monorail

A rendering of the monorail

Plans for a monorail between the city of Miami and Miami Beach took a step forward on Tuesday.

In spite of calls for a deferral from Miami Beach, the Miami-Dade County Commission approved a contract of up to $14 million with Genting Group and Meridiam Infrastructure North America Corp. to study the feasibility of building the monorail within a year to 18 months. The commission would vote on a final plan and contract after the feasibility study is completed, according to a spokesperson for the project.

The resolution passed by a vote of 10 to 2, with commissioners Xavier Suarez and Rebeca Sosa dissenting. Mayor Carlos Gimenez, whose office pushed the proposal forward for a vote, declared himself “neutral,” and did not offer a recommendation on passing or rejecting the item.

The proposal was portrayed as a “baby step” by commissioner Esteban Bovo to explore the feasibility of moving forward with a larger $586.5 million agreement with MDM Partners LLC to build a monorail system across the MacArthur Causeway. MDM Partners LLC is led by Meridiam and Genting.

Meridiam built the $1 billion underwater PortMiami tunnel.

Genting, a Malaysian-based casino company, owns about 30 acres near the Adrienne Arsht Metromover station in Miami’s Omni neighborhood, including the former Omni Mall and the waterfront former Miami Herald site, with the intent of building a resort with a casino. So far, Genting has not been unable to secure legalization for a gambling operation on that land, but it did secure a deal with the county in 2017 to build a 300-room hotel and bus depot near the Metromover station.

In 2019, following a controversial meeting between Gimenez and Genting executives in Hong Kong, Genting made an unsolicited proposal to build a monorail between Miami and Miami Beach. An official request for proposals followed, in which Genting was the only bidder. From there, the issue stalled after the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission and the Office of the Inspector General produced reports on Gimenez’s meeting with Genting executives in 2018. Since then, Genting has reported financial difficulties and its stock value has plummeted.

A rendering of the monorail

A rendering of the monorail

Another partner in the venture is Rafael Armando Garcia-Toledo, president of G-T Construction, who served as campaign chairman for Gimenez’s mayoral re-election campaign. Gimenez, whose term ends in November, is now running for Congress.

Miami Beach officials have questioned why the county is pushing approval of the interim deal, and approved a resolution requesting a delay. The Civilian Independent Transportation Trust recommended approval by a vote of 7 to 4.

Commission Chairwoman Audrey Edmonson noted that the city has been talking about a rail connection between Miami and Miami Beach for decades. “I am feeling that here we go again, kicking the can down the road,” Edmonson said.

Edmonson and several other commissioners said they saw no harm in approving an interim agreement that they insisted the county could walk away from.

Alice Bravo, director of the county’s transportation and public works, said the contract is an $8 million engineering agreement that would allow the county to own the findings. If Miami-Dade decided not to finalize a contract with MDM, it would only be obligated to pay the partnership another $6 million for the work put into the bid.

The interim agreement will span 18 months, during which time engineers will consult with officials from Miami and Miami Beach, as well as the county.

Commissioners also expressed the desire to move forward with the county’s SMART transit plan. Earlier in the meeting, the commission approved resolutions to look at the feasibility of building stations in six places along the FEC tracks between the MiamiCentral and Aventura station for a commuter train instead of just three. However, the county deferred a deal between the county and Brightline that would allow for such a commuter station.

Gimenez said negotiations with Brightline have “hit a snag” and that he won’t be rushed “on a number that doesn’t make sense.”

Edmonson said she was open to calling a special meeting on approving a contract with Brightline prior to new county officials being sworn in on Nov. 17, but only if Gimenez closes on a deal.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Ronny Finvarb with a rendering of 1790 Alton Road (GEK Architecture)
Ronny Finvarb plans boutique hotel on Alton Road site in Miami Beach
Ronny Finvarb plans boutique hotel on Alton Road site in Miami Beach
The home will be developed by Andres Isaias-led Andian Group and Alejandro Diaz Bazan of Coldwell Banker’s The Jills Zeder Group. (Bazan, Jills Zeder)
Eastern Real Estate co-founder pays $18M for waterfront North Bay Road home
Eastern Real Estate co-founder pays $18M for waterfront North Bay Road home
Tommy Mottola and Thalía with an aerial view of 31 La Gorce Circle (Getty)
Hedge funder flips Miami Beach teardown to Tommy Mottola and Thalía
Hedge funder flips Miami Beach teardown to Tommy Mottola and Thalía
7-Eleven at 6348 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach (Google Maps, iStock)
Fill ‘er up: Power Petroleum buys Miami Beach 7-Eleven with gas station for $11M
Fill ‘er up: Power Petroleum buys Miami Beach 7-Eleven with gas station for $11M
Don and Katrina Peebles with their recently purchased Bath Club unit. (Getty, ONE Sotheby’s International Realty)
Don Peebles buys unit at the Bath Club, finds buyer for Coral Gables estate
Don Peebles buys unit at the Bath Club, finds buyer for Coral Gables estate
Florinda “Flory” Padrón and 1335 North Venetian Way (Google Maps, Instagram/Padron)
Widow of late Padrón Cigars founder sells waterfront Venetian Islands home for $6M
Widow of late Padrón Cigars founder sells waterfront Venetian Islands home for $6M
The hotel was built in 1940, with an addition constructed in 1958. (Shelborne)
Owners of historic Shelborne hotel in South Beach seek approval for renovation
Owners of historic Shelborne hotel in South Beach seek approval for renovation
From left: Howard Frank Auman and Patrick J. Peyton with Apogee at 800 South Pointe Drive, Miami Beach (Photos via Signature Property Group, PAMM, Sieger Suarez Architects)
Multifamily developer spends nearly $8M on Apogee unit
Multifamily developer spends nearly $8M on Apogee unit
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...