My name is Michael Gerrity and I am a private citizen of Miami-Dade County that loves Miami.
Because of such, I wanted to share a 'grand vision' with you to help position Miami's economy and marketplace as not only a top 10 city of the U.S., but a top 10 city of the WORLD in the 21st century.
A Simple Idea, Really!
Think outside the box...
I propose relocating the Port of Miami's container business to Port Everglades (while leaving the cruise segment in place, and maybe even expand it)... thereby freeing up 550+ acres of land on Dodge Island to be redeveloped to its "highest and best use"...to enable the island drive over $1 billion+ of new PROPERTY TAX, SALES TAX, RESORT TAX & LAND LEASE REVENUE-GENERATING / JOB CREATION potential for Miami-Dade County with;
1. A new "large" (3M+ sq. ft.) world-class Convention Center - that attracts a "new" type of visitor to Miami... "business-class tourists" en mass AND globally... who spend MUCH more money than leisure tourist in the local economy in restaurants, hotels, business services, etc...when in Miami.
This will enable Miami to now compete head on with Las Vegas or Orlando for much larger business conventions like the ConExpo-Con/Agg show, an international construction equipment show that had 2.4 million square feet of exhibition space when it was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in March 2011 with more than 86,000 people attended that show! Other mega conventions trade shows to go after would be the International Consumer Electronics Show with 1.6 million square feet needed for their convention, The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) with 935,000 square feet used, The National Business Aviation Association Annual Convention with 935,000 square feet needed in a convention center...all with 50,000 to 80,000+ business tourist attending - each! And that new 4-lane underwater tunnel could easily be used to whisk them back and forth directly to MIA without locking up Miami's traffic and roadways everywhere else!
2. Expand the existing Cruise Terminal - to attract future cruise ships to Miami's port...maybe to a "business swap" with Ft. Lauderdale's Port Everglades cruise business in return for Miami's port business? ...or better yet, do what very competitive New York and New Jersey did....form a jointly-owned "Port Authority".FYI, the massive WORLD TRADE CENTER project and twin towers (before and new "Freedom Tower" now being built long after after 9/11 are jointed owned by 2 competing port entities of NJ & NY)...so this is NOT a far fetched idea either of Miami and Ft. Lauderdale combining BOTH ports under a single master "South Florida Port Authority"...and BOTH counties benefit from "container business for cruise ships" asset swaps!
3. A new dense high-end waterfront Urban Residential & Retail District - with complimenting vertically integrated condo towers, related luxury retail, large yacht marina and public space components; a "mini-Manhattan" island of Miami as I have suggested in the possible land-use picture above (click on it to expand image).
Currently this IS ONE OF THE MOST VALUABLE pieces of "underutilized" real estate in North America with a market value TODAY of approximately $6 billion to $8 billion (just the land alone) that is 100% owned by Miami-Dade county Govt, which is prime for redevelopment for a much higher and better land use and revenue generation potential! The island can be repurposed with a new urban redevelopment master plan that could include a brand new world-class 3 million+ square foot visitor and convention center; 20+ new supporting luxury hotels; an upscale retail mall; world-class marinas, a few office buildings, restaurants; 20+ new condo towers; and public waterfront parks. Lastly, and if ever passed, 2 or 3 large destination casino resort hotels....all with a combined development value approaching $50 billion+ over a 7 year buildout.
The re-development of Dodge Island could create over 200,000+ new jobs in Miami, over $50 billion+ in new construction development over the next 7 to 9 years, and possibly double Miami's tourism industry with the additional "Business & Convention" market. The re-development of Dodge Island would generate a tidal wave of new property tax AND resort sales tax revenues for the county's coffers, enabling Miami-Dade County to become one of the best funded counties in the entire U.S.
A Huge benefit to Miami Citizens!
The Translation for YOU as a local Miami citizen...
This $50 billion+ 'mega-redevelopment' project would be the largest in U.S. history. It could potentially generate over $1 billion+ in new tax revenues for the County that could allow the county to dramatically lower everyone's property taxes, provide more (and higher paid) police forces, fire services, emergency response services...and even better yet...well funded school systems to provide our children with the best public education possible!
Now you see why I call this the "THINK BIG MIAMI PROJECT"!
This grand vision for Miami will need many local citizens, business owners and community leaders like YOU to embrace, support and join forces with me to make this happen via a future county-wide referendum vote by Miami-Dade citizens that also see the same opportunity that I see for Miami's future growth in a 21st century globally emerging economy...I can't do this on my own!
In the meantime, if you like this idea and vision for Miami's future...then I respectfully ask for your help, support and sharing of this page with all your friends, family and co-workers via emails, linking to this page, share on Facebook, Twitter it, or just talk about it, etc...to help position Miami as among the top 10 cities of the WORLD in the coming decade!
...and let me be VERY clear!
1. This is in NO WAY a negative statement or cut against the wonderful team running or working at the Port of Miami. They do a great job, are very professional, and all good and hard working people. It's just that there is a VALID "business case" to make for a better "use" for that land that can drive a multiple of 10X or 20x in "new" property, convention, sales & resort tax revenues to Miami-Dade county's coffers of around $1 to $2 BILLION a year, versus the current $110 MILLION a year in revenue for the county now coming from the port's "container" business.
2. I am doing this as a 'private citizen' of Miami-Dade County and I have no economic interest in any way with this proposed project, or any possible future development partners or possible service providers!
3. Given the port has already been relocated 2x before in its 70+ year history...various "other versions" of redevelopment of the port of Miami idea has been discussed and thought of by dozens of people over the last 2+ decades before me like Seth Gordon in 2005-2006 and Brad Parker in 2011-2012 as I mentioned in a prior Op-Ed piece I did on WORLD PROPERTY CHANNEL last year. I am in no way taking credit for being "the first to think of this idea"...and no single person can take credit for this idea either...it's like saying: "who was the first person to dream of flight"? I'm just trying to further articulate and present "the possibilities" to Miami-Dade county citizens for their consideration and further action with a possible future County-wide referendum that they vote on to make this happen. Remember, elected Govt. officials WORK FOR YOU as private citizens...and YOU have the power to make them do things with your vote!
In closing, I just wanted to share this concept with Miami-Dade county citizens, business leaders and local Govt. leadership so they can "embrace and run with it" if so inclined...I'm just the spark plug to jump start the discussions!
...so stay tuned and stay connected for future announcements by email below!
As a private Miami-Dade county citizen