Genting Group have been endorsed by Miami-Dade commissioners to redevelop a bus stop in Downtown Miami, and the commissioners are betting that Genting have plans to eventually create a casino there.
In exchange for the rights to build a 36-story hotel tower, the Malaysia-based gambling giants Genting have agreed to spend $16m on upgrades to the transit stop under a 90-year lease, which includes maintenance expenses for the facility and $10m in cash before building can begin.
Commissioner Joe Martinez and others hailed the arrangement as a good deal for Miami-Dade and the future of the busy bus depot. “I am willing to live with a casino,” said Martinez. “Because it’s coming.”
However, Genting’s lawyer said Miami-Dade would need to sign off any future effort to bring gambling to the hotel complex, and indeed, Genting needs a change in Florida law, plus zoning and approvals from the city and country. Inside Florida legislature, politicians continue to deliberate as gaming policies remain unchanged.
So far, Genting has already assembled about 30 acres of land in the area, now known as the Arts and Entertainment District. After spending $236m for the former waterfront site of the Miami Herald in 2011 and $185m on the adjoining Omni retail and hotel complex, Genting have been lobbying unsuccessfully for a change in law that would allow for the development of a 5,000-room casino resort on the land, but its efforts have been stymied for years.
If state law changes, Genting would then request a change in zoning from the city of Miami, and Miami-Dade would have to endorse the request because it owns the bus stop land.
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