Once, the Miami Heat played on this five-acre patch. Soon, if all goes according to plan, it will be the construction site for a long-discussed 600,000-square-foot meeting and expo center and 1,700-room Marriott Marquis hotel.
Monday, developer MDM Group announced it has closed on the $45 million purchase of the Overtown land once occupied by the original Miami Arena. Old Arena LLC, led by Miami Worldcenter principal Nitin Motwani, purchased the five-acre tract in 2012 for $35 million.
“For MDM, this is a very real project,” said Javier Fernandez, a partner in the land-use practice at law firm Holland and Knight, and project spokesman for MDM. “The purchase signals to local public partners and the market that this is a project they intend to move forward with.”
Whether that project will indeed be the long-discussed hotel and meeting center is contingent on approval of an effort to extend the life of the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency. Originally planned to expire in 2030, the CRA would be extended until 2042 under a proposal being discussed by Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami.
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That extension, and the tax benefits that come with it, said Hernandez, are needed to support MDM’s massive Marriott Marquis Worldcenter Hotel & Expo Center. If the extension is not approved, MDM would build a less ambitious project on the site, he said.
The current plan calls for construction beginning in the third quarter of 2017, pending zoning and permit approvals, Hernandez said. The project will be built in two phases: the first, with the meeting space and 1,100 hotel rooms, and the second with 600 rooms. Under the current timeline, both phases would be complete about the same time, allowing it to open in late 2020, he said.
The project was designed by Miami architects Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates.
The Marriott Marquis is part of Miami Worldcenter, a 10-block mixed-used complex with retail, condos and rental apartments planned for downtown Miami along Northeast Second Avenue between Fifth and 11th streets. A luxury condo component, Paramount, is under construction and due for completion in 2019.