Financial projections expected soon on airport hotel
By Claudio Mendonça
The Miami-Dade Aviation Department is to release financial projections Friday for a 350- to 450-room three-star, four-diamond hotel it seeks to have private developers build at Miami International Airport.
The hotel would be privately funded, said Ray Diaz, chief of aviation commercial operations at Miami International Airport, though there might be such incentives as empowerment zone money. He estimates the project would cost $60 million.
Aviation department officials and Adelfi, a hotel consultancy firm they commissioned, have outlined the four preliminary stages of the construction process before handing out bids to prospective developers.
"We are almost done," said Chuck Martinez, Adelfi president. "We just completed some financial modifications on amortization and inflationary issues. It is a viable project. There is definitely market demand."
Don't expect the project to go out for bid immediately. It must wend its way through the halls of government first.
According to the aviation department, there are five stages before issuing an invitation to negotiate. The first is a preliminary review and situation assessment. The second is a market study, followed by a listing of the hotel specifications.
Adelfi submitted the financial projections, which are the fourth step, to the Aviation Department on Nov. 17. Those projections are currently being revised.
Once revised, the county attorney and the aviation department start drafting and developing an invitation to negotiate, the final stage of the process. According to the aviation department, it should receive a draft of the invitation to negotiate by Dec. 20. The bidding proposal itself should take 90 days to complete, Mr. Martinez said.
"Once the invitation is laid out the airport will be advertising," he said.
The department plans a March public meeting with hotel representatives to gain industry input.
After meeting with developers, the department expects to set the scope of the invitation to negotiate in April. The department then will submit it to the County Attorney's office for review.
Then, the invitation would go to Miami-Dade County Commission's Regional Transportation Committee in June. If approved, the committee would forward the bidding invitation to the full commission for approval in July.
Mr. Martinez said after prospective developers are known, the aviation department will rank them and negotiate with potential builders. The selected developer will decide whether to keep or tear down the existing airport hotel.
"The idea is to have developers bring their own financial plan and how they are going to fund the project," he said.
In 2003, the aviation department sought a private partner to renovate, manage and expand the airport's existing hotel, which is atop the center of main terminal building. Seventeen companies showed early interest but none bid.