Miami Dade County Community Forum

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My View on the Media Towers. By Frank Rollason

Most of the opposition I hear to the towers revolves around the process – not enough public input/debate, developed in backroom deal, pushed through too fast, does not comply with County ordinance. While there may be some validity in these points, let’s look at the project on its merits rather than the process.

It is in the 24-hour Entertainment District – where this type of installation should take place if it is to take place at all. It is being funded by private funds from a guy who arguably is looking for a way to salvage an investment that went south with the market – no different than you or I would do with our own personal investments. The community gets a parking garage for the PAC – parking that was overtly omitted due to funding constraints by the County to ‘resolve later’ – you try to do that with any private mom and pop business or restaurant that requires parking – good luck!

Should the towers become non-marketable or unprofitable; the parking garage will long survive after the towers are removed. The investor/developer (Mark Siffin) gave up the approved MUSP for two much taller residential towers which would have increased the traffic on the Boulevard and the surrounding streets; he also gave up the Walmart big box project. So, all in all, I look at it and say, why not?

Why not let a private developer construct an idea with his own money which he contends will bring some life and security to a slum and blighted area (don’t forget, this is located within the Omni CRA – a CRA that has done nothing to eliminate slum and blight since its inception in 1986 – now being used as a piggy bank to pay off the PAC construction bonds and fund the City’s portion of the Port Tunnel project). Think about it, we have much worse issues on the horizon than to fight a battle that is basically over – the market will control it and who knows, maybe, just maybe the idea will work and we will see some people on the streets who will generate a base for some businesses/restaurants to flourish!

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