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$15M Park In Exchange for Ownership

Partners Alex Blavatnik and Sandor Scher have been hustling to create their $220 million mixed-use passion project along Ocean Terrace in Miami Beach to life. And they aren't stopping until they've also won complete ownership of the surrounding sidewalks and public streets. 

With this level of control, Blavatnik and Scher would have the public right-of-way as part of the project's overall legacy. Here's how the deal looks: In exchange for this control, the North Beach developers are teasing a $15 million in park and streetscape improvements along Ocean Terrace between 73rd and 75th streets. The city would still have control of the sidewalks and streets and keep them open to the public. It's certainly an enticing deal. 

And what was the verdict? The city’s land use and development committee voted yay to give this proposal a favorable recommendation, even though the City Commissioner Michael Gongora, expressed unease with the idea of giving a private developer complete and utter control of public streets and sidewalks. 

 “We can’t create the perception that we are creating a private park,” Gongora said. “I am super concerned about taking out parking. It is not so great for the rest of the city that wants access.”

The Miami Beach finance committee will evaluate the developer’s offer before taking it upon the city commission and making a final decision. 

It's not the first time this duo have gotten what they wanted. Last January, the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board gave Blavatnik and Scher permission to tear down portions of 12 historic buildings on more than 2 acres of land between 73rd and 75th streets and between Collins Avenue and Ocean Terrace. 

According to memos from City Manager Jimmy Morales this week, the developers want to use portions of the public right of ways on 74th and 75th streets between Ocean Terrace and Collins Avenue as part of the project’s floor area ratio. “The proposed vacation would allow the developer to make its proposed mixed use project financially viable,” Morales wrote.

Is it okay to give private developers this kind of control? We'll certainly find out. 

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