Miami goes fishing for waterfront lease operators
By Patricia Hoyos
Miami is seeking a state-of-the-art marina, expanded tourist dining potential and a shot in the arm for its anemic budget as it seeks new operators for two long-established waterfront restaurants and a marina, all on property the city owns near City Hall.
In play are the present Grove Key Marina, Scotty's Landing and the Chart House Restaurant.
Decades-long leases at those prime sites are the carrot to lure operators with the money to make major upgrades.
To attract them, Miami has issued two requests for proposals for the city-owned waterfront properties.
One request is for a tenant to renovate, lease, manage and operate property at 3385 Pan American Drive as a marina/boatyard and an outdoor casual restaurant. The site currently houses Grove Key Marina and Scotty's Landing.
The property, which includes 4.5 acres for the marina/boatyard and .28 acres for the restaurant, is being leased for a maximum initial term of 40 years with option of renewing for 10 more years, according to the proposal. The city hopes the new tenant will transform the property into a state-of-the-art marina complex.
The site also includes .47 acres of submerged land in Biscayne Bay designated as an aquatic preserve, a pier, two hangar buildings, one office building, two fuel pumps and two parking lots.
The winning proposer must make required minimum renovations, including refurbishing the two hangars, fixing the marina pavement, repairing the dock and refurbishing the restaurant's kitchen.
The other request for proposals is for a waterfront property that now houses the Chart House Restaurant at 51 Charthouse Drive. The city looks for proposals that will explore and expand the tourist potential of the location, according to the request.
The 1.34 acre property is available for a maximum initial term of 20 years with two options to renew for five years.
Just like with the marina site, the winning proposer will also be responsible for the renovation, maintenance, operation and management of the property.
Located just west of the Grove Key Marina site and north of the existing Scotty's Landing, the property includes an indoor and outdoor waterfront restaurant, an outdoor patio area, a baywalk and a parking lot in front of the facility.
A successful proposal must include plans to repair or replace the dock, create a floating dock and remodel the restaurant's interior, according to the request for proposal.
With the new deals, the city aims to improve the revenue capacity of the marina/boatyard facility, improve the outdoor casual dining use and enhance its destination market appeal, strengthen the connection between the land and the bay, increase the financial return to the city and enhance the overall public benefit derived from the facilities.
Assistant city manager Alice Bravo has said the city is "basically opening it up for people to come in and revamp those facilities."
The proposals, issued March 16, are due June 15.
With the city probably facing another budget shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year, Mayor Tomas Regalado has said he hopes deals that will come out of the requests will help the city find new sources of revenue as well as maximize the use of the sites.
"We are looking for not only the revenue the city can receive," he told Miami Today in a previous interview. "Whoever gets the contract will be there for 30 years, so having a great waterfront is important."
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