Miami-Dade County

Slips and spills: Miami Commission defers decision on marina project protests

A rendering of the Virginia Key marina project proposed by RCI Group’s development team
A rendering of the Virginia Key marina project proposed by RCI Group’s development team Courtesy

Deadlocked over a technical issue, Miami Commissioners chose Thursday night to push a vote on a $100 million marina expansion project two weeks down the road.

Commissioners attempted to vote on two protests filed by the losing bidders in a solicitation to win the right to redevelop and expand the city’s two marinas on Virginia Key. Miami’s City Manager recommended last month that the award go to a team led by RCI Group, the operator of the Miami Beach Marina. But the second- and third-ranked teams protested that decision, arguing that the manager’s recommendation and the scores of an evaluation committee were flawed.

After the protests were filed, the second-ranked team, Suntex, learned that RCI Group was involved in a 2000 sewage spill on Miami Beach, and argued that the decision not to disclose the spill in its bid should have disqualified RCI Group from bidding. RCI’s attorneys disputed the assertion.

Regardless, attorneys representing the city commission and Miami’s administration said the issue could not be considered by the commission when deciding the validity of the two bid protests, since it was raised after the deadline to file a bid protest passed.

With Commissioner Francis Suarez on a plane to Houston as part of a Metropolitan Planning Organization trip, commissioners deadlocked over whether to consider the information or not. Unable to decide, they chose to decide June 9, when the full commission will presumably be on the dais.

In other news, Commissioners:

  • Approved a new contract with the city’s Fraternal Order of Police
  • Gave preliminary approval to a rezoning needed to expand the Lotus House shelter for women and children
  • Urged Miami-Dade Commissioners to place a straw ballot on the upcoming November election inquiring whether voters would pay increased taxes in order to reduce violent crime and support programming for teens in at-risk neighborhoods.
  • Set official boundaries for Little Haiti