Mehmet Bayraktar will help change Watson Island as chairman of developer Flagstone Property Group
Groundbreaking is expected soon on what its creators describe as one of the finest waterfront landmark developments in the world, on land owned by the City of Miami on Watson Island.
The $480 million project is being developed by Flagstone Property Group, whose founder is Turkey-born entrepreneur Mehmet Bayraktar, member of a prominent business family in his native country.
The mixed-use complex, planned for completion by 2008, is to feature a 50-slip harbor designed exclusively for mega-yachts - pleasure boats at least 100 feet long and some as big as small cruise ships. The marina is to be the central feature of what those involved see as a Miami rival to such upscale Mediterranean boating centers as Monte Carlo and Marbella.
Other elements are to include two high-end hotels, one of them the first Shangri-La to be built in the US; 105 "fractional residences," units under shared ownership and offering hotel services; more than 220,000 feet of retail and dining space with an international flavor that is to include waterfront restaurants and cafes with views to downtown Miami; a world-class spa; and about 1,600 dedicated parking spaces.
There are also to be public spaces - recreation and leisure areas where residents and visitors will be able to enjoy civic arts and cultural events, innovative gardens provided by Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and exhibition of Miami's maritime history by the Historical Museum of Southern Florida.
The project was given the initial go-ahead with Miami City Commission approval on Dec. 12, 2002, for a ground-lease agreement with Flagstone, and on July 8, 2004, the commission approved a major use special permit for it. Developers say permitting, which included participation by Miami-Dade County and the South Florida Water Management District, is now complete.
Mr. Bayraktar detailed his vision for the Island Gardens project, which is to complement the nearby Parrot Jungle Island and Miami Children's Museum, in an interview with Miami Today international editor Michael Hayes.
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