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American Dream Miami mall opponents turn to Tallahassee for help

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Two South Florida competitors of the proposed $4 billion Miami mega-mall/entertainment center could be turning to Tallahassee for help derailing the massive project before it gets started.

According to sources on Adams Street, operators of Sawgrass Mills and Aventura Mall have brought on top-tier lobbyists who will make every effort to block Cabinet approval of a state-surplus land sale essential to the project.

Triple Five, the firm behind the proposal, owns and operates the Mall of America in Minnesota. The planned American Dream Miami site sits within the Miami-Dade Urban Development Boundary. That means Triple Five needs to purchase and re-zone the land before moving forward.

That is only a handful of the regulatory, environmental and hurdles the project faces before American Dream becomes reality.

No surprise that competitors want to thwart the competition; what is unexpected is the central argument against the project used by the protagonists — traffic.

Interestingly enough, these same people brought Sawgrass Mills to a gridlocked standstill, generating millions of car trips each year to West Broward.

They seek to end the American Dream because of traffic.

Consider it a little like Pepsi and Dr. Pepper joining forces to ban Coke, simply because it is a sweet, sugary drink. Clearly, there is one word for this: competition … stiff competition.

Sawgrass Mills, the self-described second largest tourist attraction in Florida, is clearly worried about dropping to No. 3. That’s just business. We should not allow self-interest and greed of one or two companies stand in the way of genuine economic development.

Miami-Dade commissioners last month took the first step toward creating the mega-mall, endorsing the sale of about 80 acres of surplus state land, giving the developers enough room to construct a proposed 200-acre combination retail mecca/theme park.

The mall expects to create more than 25,000 construction jobs and an additional 25,000 permanent jobs.  It represents an economic engine -– one of statewide proportions -– that should not be delayed or derailed.

Stay tuned — this battle could be as fierce as a Black Friday sales frenzy.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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