Community Conversations

What do you think of the American Dream Miami mall proposal?

An artist’s rendering of American Dream Miami, a 4-million-square-foot shopping area with plans to include an indoor ski slope and miniture golf among other attractions. If developed, it would be the nation’s largest mall.
An artist’s rendering of American Dream Miami, a 4-million-square-foot shopping area with plans to include an indoor ski slope and miniture golf among other attractions. If developed, it would be the nation’s largest mall. TRIPLE FIVE

We asked the following question to readers on social media and the Public Insight Network recently: What are your thoughts on the American Dream Miami mall proposal? Thanks for all of your responses. Below are a sampling of your comments, some of which were edited for length and clarity. Learn more about the Public Insight Network and read and comment on previous discussions at MiamiHerald.com/community and select Community Conversations.

“It’s not a fit for us. We need to place our efforts on establishing a workforce that can fill higher paying jobs. I can’t see how adding more minimum wage jobs will help our economy. There are more than enough malls to fill everyone’s needs. And as important ‘ let’s stay green.’ Our environment should be No. 1.”

Naida Gonzalez, Kendall

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“I think it’s great and I cannot wait to see the huge amount of tourism it will bring to the city! Hurry and build please!”

Michelle Zozaya, Miami Lakes

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“I believe it’s a eco/biologic hazard that will wreak havoc and disaster for the Everglades and all of Southern Florida. My great fear is of the numerous toxic agents which will ‘inadvertently’ enter into the land and waters with huge negative impact on all here — animals, plants and humans.”

Nancy Kraemer, Miami

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“I live nearby and I support this project for the selfish reason it will raise the value of my home to probably double what I paid for and perhaps more. However, this is going to be an unmitigated disaster being so far away from everything, including tourists. So unless the County is willing to shell several billion dollars in mass transportation projects that take people from the east side of the County (and PortMiami and MIA) this project will be doomed before it started. Nobody coming to visit Miami will want to spend two hours in traffic to ride a roller-coaster inside a mall. They can go to Orlando for that and see the Mouse while at it.”

Miguel Gonzalez, Hialeah

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“With Sawgrass so close, I question if this is really needed. Yes, this mall will bring jobs to the construction industry, but these are only temporary. The retail jobs will mostly be $9 or $10 per hour — bottom of the pay scale wages. As a person who would rather shop anywhere but a mall, I doubt I’ll be shopping there.”

Deborah Gray Mitchell, Miami

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“I would love to think all the promises are true. 25,000 construction jobs and another 25,000 permanent jobs?! However, I am a bit skeptical. ‘Taxpayer Stadium’/Marlins Stadium was shoved down our throats with similar promises. On the rare chance everyone is being honest about all the jobs to be created, the politicians will always find a way to mess up a good deal for those of us who live in Miami-Dade County.”

Doris Kolber, Miami

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“Horrific idea due to traffic concerns, lack of demand and potential for complete failure. I travel this route from Weston to Doral each day and traffic is barely functioning as is. A project of this magnitude would cause more disruption and drive existing companies out of South Florida. No zoning provisions should be granted for this to proceed.”

James OKeefe, Weston

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“The Miami-Dade commissioners need to work for the citizens of our county and not developers and tourists. This is not going to resolve traffic problems but exacerbate them. The jobs created after construction is done will not be high-paying jobs but close to minimum wage. Again not helping the citizens of the county. This is totally impractical.”

Geri Wegner, Pinecrest

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“Infrastructure is the first thought. Yes, it is wonderful that Miami-Dade could have the largest mall in America but this comes with tremendous responsibilities (security, accessibility and the necessary foot traffic to reconcile the space). This would directly compete with Dadeland and Dolphin Mall and somewhat with International Mall and The Falls. Everything depends on the 2016 elections. What we don’t need is a ghost town of retail space!”

Art Carson, Miramar

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“Future traffic is my main concern with construction of this mall. They are proposing to build the mall where I-75 and the Turnpike intersect, but nothing has been said on how they plan to handle the morning and afternoon gridlock which occurs within this vicinity. Miami-Dade Mayor Gimenez claims that this mall will create 25,000 jobs. Add to this the thousands more who will visit it at any giving time, and you have a catastrophic traffic situation in your hands. They need to put analysts to work on this topic as soon as possible, if they have not done so already.”

Antonio Ugando, Miramar

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“Malls are a thing of the past. Big boxy stores are not as popular as they once were. People now prefer to shop locally, to support their local businesses. It would be a shame for this mega mall to be built, but filled with empty stores for lack of shoppers.”

Simone Dextraze, Hollywood

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“The lure of world-class amenities and a fantastic shopping and entertainment experience is strong, not to mention serious money for local municipalities. It’s a huge risk for the developer, but that’s their business and they’re among the very best. From an environmental stance, it’s problematic as development encroaches even further into the nether-regions of Dade County’s edge of the Everglades. At least they’ll make a dent in those damn melaleuca trees.”

Robert Burr, Redlands

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“I’ve also wanted to go to the mega mall in Minneapolis so having the biggest mega mall not far from my home is fantastic. It would be somewhere to shop at, see a movie, go to a restaurant or even to just go and walk around the entire mall and take it in. I hope that the mall will have all the stores that I love to shop and browse at since some of them have closed at the Broward Mall.”

Sheree Baum, Davie

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“My personal opinion is that this is a very big mistake. South Florida and in particular Miami-Dade County is so congested now that it impacts quality of life issues on a daily basis. A big one of these issues is traffic and the amount of time it takes on any given day to get anywhere you want to go. We have enough retail space and certainly do not need more in this electronic age. Also, the best part of being in south Florida is the weather which calls for outdoor activities. Why do we need a created indoor space to turn to for pleasure?”

Carol Berndt, Miami

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“Just another harebrained scheme to cash in on some fly-by-night realty deal that will flourish at first, and after it causes new developments to spring up all around it, it will become the worse neighbor you can imagine. Noise, traffic, and crime will come along for the ride. One more terrible way to push the boundaries.”

Robert Reyes, Homestead

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“Between Miami-Dade and Broward Counties we keep building bigger and more when it comes to shopping and hotels, yet there are miles and miles of empty shopping centers and less and less green areas, parks and natural areas. Don’t we have enough mega malls and attractions? The beauty of south Florida is vanishing under concrete, asphalt and traffic. A super mall will only leave other malls empty and keep the trend of south Florida looking like a wasteland of former shops.”

Gerry Messina, Tamarac

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“In a county with a long and proud tradition of bone headed ideas, this may be the most colossal. We need no more shopping, and this will only add to our monumental traffic problems. When I moved here in 1979, crime was the major problem. Now, thankfully, crime is way down, but the traffic is untenable. The mall project, clogging up a major interchange, will only add to this dread.”

David Auslander, Pinecrest

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“We already have more than enough malls in South Florida. The vast majority of the jobs that it would provide wouldn’t be good ones, except for temporary jobs for the construction industry. Do these folks want to pave what’s left of the Everglades? If you let these developers and others just like them and Big Sugar, get away with their crazy machinations, our water supply and ecosystem will be destroyed. The only water left will be from sea level rise. At least Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is leading a valiant effort to solve that part of our environmental problem.”

Sara Leviten, North Miami

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“My thoughts are simple. Any developer that wants to come to Miami and invest $4 billion of their own money and not cost the taxpayers anything is a good thing. The County needs jobs pure and simple, and while it may not bring 25,000 jobs it will bring several thousand more jobs that we have right now. It’s not like nobody goes to the local Job Fairs. We need these jobs. But they will be mostly minimum wage jobs people argue. Yes, but South Florida is mostly minimum wage tourist, hospitality, customer service-based jobs. So why do we expect anything more.”

Cully Waggoner, Miami

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