Downtown Miami

Judge allows SkyRise Miami lawsuit to proceed

SkyRise Miami
SkyRise Miami

A lawsuit by Miami-Dade mayoral candidate Raquel Regalado challenging the voter referendum that approved the SkyRise Miami tower will proceed in court after a judge declined once again to dismiss her complaint.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Samantha Ruiz Cohen said Monday that she would not entertain motions by Bayside Marketplace LLC and SkyRise Miami LLC to dismiss the case on grounds that had already been raised unsuccessfully by the city of Miami and Miami-Dade County. A hearing on Regalado’s motion to invalidate an August 2014 referendum approving the project is for Feb. 11.

Regalado and auto magnate Norman Braman filed the politically charged lawsuit early this year, challenging the referendum that authorized an extension and amendment of Bayside’s lease with the city of Miami, including a sublease that allows for the development of the 1,000-foot SkyRise Miami observation tower. The duo’s principal argument, among several, was that the ballot language advertised a privately funded tower even though SkyRise would seek — and receive approval for — a $9 million county grant funding infrastructure improvements necessary for the tower’s development.

Braman dropped out of the lawsuit last week, and only the issue of the validity of the ballot question remains. Attorneys for SkyRise and Bayside, who say there was nothing misleading about the ballot question, argued Monday that Regalado’s lawsuit should be thrown out because post-election actions aren’t subject to a judicial challenge, and because the grant hasn’t been issued yet, and may never be. But Ruiz Cohen allowed the suit to proceed.