Port of Miami plans mega-yacht marina
By Scott Blake
A new plan calls for "a unified waterfront global destination" at the Port of Miami featuring a mix of commercial development including a marina to berth mega-yachts, ferry service to the Caribbean, and hotel, retail, restaurant and office space.
The ambitious projects for the future are outlined in the latest Port of Miami Master Plan, which Miami-Dade commissioners approved Tuesday. Seaport officials were planning a presentation of the plan Wednesday at the port.
The master plan, which runs through 2035, calls for development of a mega-yacht marina complex at the southwest corner of the port.
"Immediately adjacent to the marina would be a waterfront promenade with retail and restaurant areas," the document states.
"This development would ideally work in conjunction with the cruise area to provide early arriving passengers the opportunity to spend quality time in Miami prior to their cruise," the plan states.
At this point, there are no specific proposals for a marina or other commercial development at the port, but seaport officials see such development as a key to diversifying the port's businesses and staying competitive in the future, said Port of Miami spokeswoman Paula Musto.
"These are just ideas," Ms. Musto said. "The important thing to keep in mind is that the master plan is just a guide as proposals and opportunities [for development] are identified."
Ms. Musto said the port's largely vacant southwest corner — with its premier views of downtown Miami and high property value potential — seems ripe for development someday.
She added, "A market study has to be done before we look at specifics."
Miami city officials a decade ago gave Flagstone Development Group the OK to build a mega-yacht marina and hotel complex near the port on city-owned Watson Island. Work has not begun. Flagstone could not be reached Tuesday.
Other elements of the port master plan:
nDesign and development of cruise ferry service from the port to the Caribbean. The service, which could capitalize on the anticipated opening of cruises to Cuba and elsewhere, could be based at the southwest port property.
nDevelopment of hotel, retail, restaurant and office space to serve cruise passengers and the community. Such development could cluster around the southwest port property.
nErecting 23 super-sized gantry cranes by 2034 to handle more cargo. Currently, the port has two of the so-called "Post-Panamax" cranes and is in the process of getting four more.
The seaport's last master plan, completed in 1999, included several infrastructure projects now underway.
With the new plan, port officials want to augment their significant cruise and cargo business with commercial development.
"One of the new strategic elements of the Port of Miami will be the introduction of commercial aspects to the business portfolio," the plan states.
The port "has spare land assets that allow for commercial development opportunities," the plan adds. The port's current "weakness as a central business district "downtown' port can be exploited as a major strength in this regard."
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