Malaysian conglomerate Genting Group acquired the Miami Herald’s bayfront campus (pictured) in 2011 for $236 million in its pursuit of plans for a 50-slip marina at the site. The casino plans are currently stymied but the company got a nod from the Miami River Commission earlier this week to advance other development of the property, reports the Miami Herald.
While the commission yields no approval power, it does advise local governments regarding riverfront development. After a presentation on Monday from a Genting attorney, the commission voted unanimously to support the plan for the marina for large yachts at the property it owns on Biscayne Bay in South Florida. Genting’s plan also envisions the construction of a new public baywalk to be situated between the MacArthur and Venetian causeways.
The endorsement from the commission can only help Genting, which is seeking approval from Miami-Dade County environmental regulators for the transfer of 42 boat slips, which are presently located at two river marinas, to the Biscayne Bay site. Powerboat slip construction in the bay and river is under the strict control of a county manatee-protection plan. The plan is designed to protect the endangered local manatee population as well as their habitat. Under current manatee regulations, the Genting Group’s Resorts World Miami subsidiary is limited to eight slips, however, that could expand to 50 slips should officials approve the transfer.
The formal hearing and resulting endorsement was Genting’s first public confirmation that it still intends to pursue approval for the marina on its own; independent of the massive casino resort which along with the marina was part of its original vision for the land. Earlier this year, a report from the news agency indicated that Genting was rumored to be interested in selling 14-acre plot along Biscayne Bay after the Florida Legislature failed to approve casino gambling there. Genting has said in the past, however, that its plan to build a hotel at the site, without a casino, remains intact, but it has yet to submit plans to that effect to the city, according to the news agency.
Plans for the marina, however, were submitted to the county and were followed by a letter from Genting in July which included the slip transfer proposal. The move by Genting prompted speculation at the time that it was proceeding with the marina proposal sans the resort piece. Spencer Crowley, an attorney for Genting, confirmed that at the hearing this week, as reported by the news agency.
The conglomerate, which together with Alliance Global Group Inc. (AGI) (AGI:PM), is developing the leisure and entertainment township, Westside City, in Entertainment City in Parañaque, wants to move forward with the marina application because that, Crowley said, can take a long time, according to the news agency. Crowley added that due to the fact that the city of Miami controls the bay bottom at the site, Genting will also need to obtain an agreement or a lease with the municipality in order to build the marina, Crowley told the newspaper.