MIA entrance getting $500 million retail, hotel boost
By Lou Ortiz
A redevelopment plan at Miami International Airport could result in private hotel and retail investments of up to $500 million, officials say.
If the plan takes off, folks using the airport could one day buy gas outside MIA, drop off their dry cleaning on their way out of town, buy snacks before catching a flight or stay the night at a new 200-room airport hotel.
On Tuesday, about 50 commercial real estate investors, architects, bankers and investment firm representatives flocked to a workshop for the public-private investment partnership project held by the county Aviation Department.
The department was seeking input from the development industry on four airport sites for the mixed-use plan so that a county request for proposals could be made attractive to investors.
The people who travel through the airport daily are "a great consumer base for private entities," said department spokesman Greg Chin.
On an average day, more than 92,000 passengers use the airport. More than 33.7 million used the airport in 2007.
The sites include 29 acres north of the Central Boulevard entrance, which could accommodate a hotel, convention center or another project; a parcel next to the Dolphin long-term parking garage, which is designated for a hotel; and the existing airport hotel and Aviation Department offices in Terminal E.
The fourth site, near the intersection of LeJeune Road and Central Boulevard, could accommodate a convenience store, gas station and dry cleaner. The county would lease all four sites to investors.
"We'll make revenues from those leases," Mr. Chin said. "The board of county commissioners still has to approve it."
The county commission's Airport & Tourism Committee is expected to consider a request for proposals for the sites in June or July.