9 Things You Need to Know About American Dream Miami

Per the Miami Herald, when the Miami-Dade County Commission voted 11-1 to approve the $4 billion American Dream Miami, South Florida officially entered the amusement park business. While Canadian developer Triple Five Group still needs more approval before work can begin on the mega-project, the commission’s vote represents the clearing of a significant hurdle in the project’s realization.

Proponents say the project will give residents an alternative to driving to Orlando to visit Disney World and other attractions there.

Here’s what you need to know about the American Dream Miami:

1. The Largest Project Miami-Dade County Has Seen

American Dream Miami received approval for 6.2 million square feet of retail and entertainment space plus 2,000 hotel rooms. The commission also voted 9-1 to approve a mixed-use project by the Miami Lakes-based developer Graham Companies on 300 acres just south of the American Dream Miami. Plans for that project call for 4 million square feet of office and retail space and 2,000 apartments. 

The American Dream Miami would rise on 174 acres between Florida’s Turnpike Homestead extension and Interstate 75 south. Starting at 180th Street, the Graham Companies mixed-use project of 340 acres would run between the same two highways, to a southern boundary that lines up with 170th Street.

2. It Will Be the Largest “Mall” in North America

Per the Pioneer Press, American Dream Miami would be about 1.2 million square feet larger than Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, a similar entertainment and retail center that was also developed by Triple Five and is currently the largest on the continent. 

3. It is Expected to Attract 30 million Visitors Per Year

In its application, Triple Group estimated about 70,000 vehicle trips in and out of the property, which would be more visitors than Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. 

4. Its Entertainment Features

Those features would include an indoor ski slope, a Ferris wheel, amusement park rides, a submarine that dives into an aquarium, an ice rink, a miniature golf course, a sports center for competitive games, a movie theater, a fishing lake, and multiple performance venues. 

Triple Group said the project would be similar to the American Dream Meadowlands project it’s currently building in New Jersey. Expected to open in a year, it’s 75 percent leased with 55 percent of its space entertainment and the rest retail. The New Jersey project has a water park branded by DreamWorks, an amusement park branded by Nickelodeon, and a Cirque du Soleil theater. 

5. It Will Not Receive Taxpayer Funding From the County

The commission passed a resolution by 11-1 barring American Dream Miami from receiving taxpayer funding from the county, whether it’s in the form of a tax break, bond, loan, or tax increment financing. The developer could still seek state or federal subsidies.

6. Not Everybody Supported the Project

Miami-Dade Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava voted against it, citing the heavy traffic it would bring and the negative environmental impact to the nearby Everglades. Environmentalists decried the lack of a plan to manage stormwater on the site and said the project’s size and proximity to the Everglades made the project undesirable.

7. The Project Will Create Thousands of New Jobs

Estimates for how many jobs vary, with Miami-Dade County staff putting the number at 9,236 to 22,331 jobs and the developer putting the figure at 14,000. Triple Five Group previously signed a deal with the county to provide 35 percent of both its architectural/engineering and construction jobs to local small businesses, and 65 percent of its employment to county residents. 

8. Triple Five Will Pay for Road Improvements

As part of the approval, the developer is responsible for paying for about $200 million in roadway improvements, including four highway interchanges. The state is also picking up some of the cost, but no county money will be used for the road improvements.

9. More Approvals are Needed

The project must obtain permits from the county after clearing regulatory milestones, including environmental mitigation, sewage capacity, and water use.

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