Miami-Dade County

Amusement park in the sky hires a company to make it work

A rendering of SkyRise Miami, a 1,000-foot observation tower proposed for downtown Miami.
A rendering of SkyRise Miami, a 1,000-foot observation tower proposed for downtown Miami. ARQUITECTONICA

A sports and entertainment company owned by the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys announced Monday that it will help design and operate SkyRise Miami, the 1,000-foot observation tower and tourist attraction planned behind Bayside Marketplace

Legends will be responsible for the “development and operation of the SkyRise experience,” according to a press release issued by the company. The tower, to be located on subleased city of Miami land behind Bayside Marketplace, is designed to include thrill rides, outdoor observation decks, restaurants and a nightclub.

“We are confident that Legends, well-known for its best-in-class business acumen, will serve our project well in the years ahead,” developer Jeff Berkowitz said in a statement. “This partnership is a win-win for all involved, and we look forward to bringing a high-quality iconic attraction to the South Florida community and its millions of visitors.”

Legends already owns and operates the observatory atop the One World Trade Center in New York City, and operates the brand new OUE Skyspace in Los Angeles. Among Legends’ stated duties at SkyRise Miami: day-to-day management of the tower; marketing, programming and sales; guest interactions; and food and beverage offerings.

The details of the partnership were not explained in the press release, and Berkowitz said in an email that he was unavailable to answer questions. So it’s yet to be seen if or how the partnership will help Berkowitz build the tower, which was approved by a voter referendum in the city of Miami two years ago.

Since then, SkyRise has been tied up in litigation over Berkowitz’s application for a $9 million county economic development grant. Raquel Regalado, county mayoral candidate, filed a complaint challenging the grant on the grounds that voters were sold on a privately funded project.

Berkowitz backed off the grant in April, saying he was unable to meet the county’s requirements. Bayside settled the Regalado lawsuit.

“We are honored to partner with and invest in SkyRise Miami, an innovative, state-of-the-art space considered by many to represent a ‘symbol of the New Miami,’ Shervin Mirhashemi, president of Legends, said in a statement.

Berkowitz, who is also seeking funds through the federal government’s EB-5 investment visa program, says SkyRise should be completed by 2020.