By Ismael Rodriguez
The American Dream Miami mega-mall is expected to become the ultimate location for global retail brands looking to debut their work. The mall expects to feature exclusive, luxury brands from around the globe, catering to fashion savvy and highly targeted consumers in a coveted demographic.
The project is intended to be a larger version of Minnesota’s Mall of America, consisting of an indoor ski slope, submarine rides, a domed lake, Ferris wheel, water park, retail stores and 2,000 hotel rooms in Northwest Miami-Dade.
Triple Five, the Canada-based company that built Minnesota’s Mall of America, will build the retail theme park on 200 acres where I-75 meets the Florida Turnpike near Miami Lakes upon full approval from the state. Its approval will also pave the way for an adjoining commercial and residential project by the Graham Companies, the Miami Lakes developer that sold Triple Five the majority of its Miami-Dade land.
Triple Five hopes to bring an Orlando-style attraction to Miamians at all costs.
The Miami-Dade Advisory Board voted in favor of the American Dream Miami, a $5 billion project, because it should boost the economy by giving 15,000 people an opportunity for employment.
The project passed with a 10-1 approval from the board on Dec. 7, and it will now be reviewed by the County Commission for a preliminary vote in January. The final decision will come in May if it passes the Commission’s approval.
“You get to create an engine that will drive this economy,” said Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, a land-use lawyer and lobbyist representing the project, to board members. “American Dream Miami is an economic-development project, first and foremost.”
Unfortunately, some concerns by county planners involved the flood of cars from this potential development in an area already congested by traffic.
County planners questioned who would pay for the interchanges, highway widening and other infrastructure. The I-75 highway accommodates an estimated 30 million visitors a year and about 70,000 vehicles a day, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.
Some of the suggestions made by Triple Five developers to ease the issue with traffic congestion are to interchange on the Florida Turnpike at 170th Street and an expanded interchange on I-75 at Miami Gardens Drive.
Lobbyist seemed hopeful though.
“This is really the beginning of the journey,” Diaz de la Portilla told the board. “This is a very long process.”
Triple Five expects the project to propel Miami-Dade’s quality of life by enhancing its economy and giving the residents a chance to indulge in a cheaper alternative to Disney World vacations.