A Miami-Dade County judge dismissed a lawsuit Friday over an $88 million public subsidy to the polarizing Miami Worldcenter project, saying that plaintiff Martin Margulies, a prominent local developer, did not have the right to sue.
Margulies sued the city of Miami and a local anti-poverty agency earlier this summer. He alleged that the city and the agency did not give the public proper notice of a hearing that awarded the subsidy to the planned $1.7 billion complex.
But in an order dismissing the case with prejudice, Judge John Schlesinger wrote that Margulies lacked standing to pursue the suit.
“The judge decided that under the existing law of Florida a person who lives in the village of Key Biscayne does not have standing or the right to complain about something that took place in the city of Miami,” said Alan Dimond, an attorney at Greenberg Traurig who represents the Worldcenter developers.
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The massive, mixed-use project promises to bring a 765,000-square-foot shopping center, a luxury condo tower and rental apartment buildings to downtown’s blighted Park West District. But critics say the project doesn’t provide enough benefits to locals in exchange for the public largesse it received and fear that it could contribute to the gentrification of historic Overtown.
Margulies’ attorney, Richard Ovelmen of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, said the court had not yet informed his office that the case had been dismissed.
“It’s a terrible decision for the public in Dade County, and we’re shocked by it,” Ovelmen said.
He added that Margulies could appeal the decision.