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Largest Mall In the US Coming to Miami. Our Chance to Create a New Legacy.

The largest mall in the country is coming to Miami and it is going to be called American Dream Miami. The mall will be located from approximately NW 170th Street, north to the intersection of I-75 and the Florida Turnpike past the the Miami-Gardens Drive exit. It will have a luxury hotel with 2500 rooms, a movie theater with 14 screens, Lego land, an artificial ski slope, a skating rink, a theme park with live animals, a water park, a submarine lake, miniature golf, and it will have enough space for 550 stores and 50 restaurants over 4.2 million square feet of floor space. By comparison, Aventura Mall is the largest mall in Florida and the third largest in the United States, it ONLY has 300 stores and 2.7 million square feet of floor space and none of the amenities the Dream Mall boasts it will have. The economic boost this will bring to Miami is invaluable as Miami was recently rated as the worst place to live in the United States according to financial news and opinion website 24/7 Wall St.

American Dream Miami is the birth child of Iranian-Canadian Jacob Ghermezian and his four oldest sons, who created the current largest mall in the country, Mall of the Americas Mall in Minnesota. He wanted to create a mall in Miami because his children moved here and he wanted them to have their own super mall and to make this his legacy project in Miami-Dade County.

Back in November 2015, Bob Gorlow, a local real estate adviser and developer who represents the Ghermezian family said they have been working on this project for years and they plan to break ground in 2016. David DeCespedes of argues that there are too many reasons not to build such a development in Miami. He argues that mega projects do not equal prosperity, Miami-Dade doesn’t need any more entertainment, upholding the urban development boundary is critical, and large-scale development this far west can be an ecological disaster. These are seemingly fair arguments but surprisingly none of these issues are holding up the project. Meanwhile, David Beckham is somewhere banging his head on the wall over these issues.

Today the Real Deal South Florida, a real estate news source reported that the project has been pushed back to an unspecified date because of traffic concerns. The County wants more traffic information and analysis. The developer, Triple Five Group (Ghermezian’s company) will go before the County Commission next year with new proposals that will hopefully address the traffic concerns that halted the long awaited ground breaking. The County is exploring the idea of extending the rail tracks a few miles north to the proposed mall location. A large amount of County dollars are at risk of being dumped into this project and this can easily blow up Mayor Jimenez’s face if he is not careful. He only needs to look back to the man he replaced (Mayor Carlos Alvarez) to see how frivolously spending County dollars can quickly make you a local pariah. For now the County is on the hook for upgrading the local infrastructure and sewage lines to support such a development. Any further County spending will certainly attract a lot of attention and it will be subject to the type of scrutiny that can end political careers and destroy this type of project if it does not pass the smell test. Miami has been through enough drama with the Miami Marlins Stadium.

South Florida (and especially Miami) is currently the nation’s organized fraud capital. We have had local government officials and employees charged with fraud so many times that today locals are numb to this news. Things have to change at some point. I personally feel this can be the project that can create a new legacy for Miami. This can be the example to the world of what can be accomplished when local government and business leaders work together on the up-and-up and create something really great. This mall is a huge challenge but more importantly it is an opportunity and we can’t afford to screw this up. I am hopeful that this will be the project that marked the time when things began to change in Miami and South Florida. Forgive me if this may seem as though I am channeling Donald Trump but Miami can and will be great again. No Trump intended.

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