Miami-Dade County

American Dream mega mall clears Miami-Dade school board

An artist’s rendering of American Dream Miami, a 4-million-square-foot shopping and entertainment complex.
An artist’s rendering of American Dream Miami, a 4-million-square-foot shopping and entertainment complex. Triple Five

A proposal for the largest mall in America cleared another hurdle on Wednesday when Miami-Dade school board members voted unanimously to give up a lease on public land eyed for the project.

The school board will get $7.2 million, in addition to $1 million for internships and academic program, for waiving its hold on the property.

“This item takes great steps to protect the financial interest of this board and its students,” said board chair Perla Tabares Hantman.

Developer Triple Five wants to build American Dream Miami: a 4-million-square-foot shopping theme park where Interstate 75 meets the Florida Turnpike. About 45 acres of the land is tied up in a lease with the district, which acquired the property in case a school would ever be needed there.

Developer Eskandar Ghermezian, who is also behind Minnesota’s Mall of America, has promised $1 million over five years to academic academies and internships for students. The money will start flowing once a building permit is issued, and will go towards programs in hospitality, finance, engineering, IT and others.

Board member Raquel Regalado, who opposes the mall project as a candidate running for Miami-Dade mayor, applauded the contribution and even shook hands with the developer after the board’s vote.

“I love the fact that some of it is going to engineering and robotics," she said. “I have a 9- and an 11-year-old, and I want them to be able to stay in Miami-Dade County."

Miami-Dade County commissioners on Tuesday gave preliminary approval for the project. Under the deal, the county will acquire the public land and sell it to Triple Five.

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