Genting downscales in Miami as it seeks to expand its global brand
BY ELAINE WALKER
Malaysian casino giant Genting says it will move forward with more modest plans for its downtown Miami site
. Globally, the company is seeking to expand.
Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado hasn’t seen them. Neither has Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
Nearly six months after the Genting Group failed to get legislative approval for a massive destination casino resort on the downtown Miami Herald site, both mayors are among the many who said they have heard nothing from the Malaysian company about its scaled down vision for a project without a casino.
Speaking publicly for the first time since the legislative defeat, Genting executives told the Miami Herald they remain committed to Miami and are slowly moving forward with a plan that could be presented to the city later this year or early next. Preliminary plans call for a luxury hotel with fewer than 500 rooms -- about one tenth of its original proposal -- plus two condo towers. The total space devoted to restaurants and boutiques would be no more than 100,000 square feet,
or about the size of a small department store.
Genting is vetting about a dozen luxury hotel brands that have expressed interest in the project; once a flag is chosen, the plan will move forward, said Christian Goode, president of Resorts World Miami.
The hope is to start demolition in May 2013 when the Herald vacates the bayfront land it now occupies. Genting paid Herald parent McClatchy Co. $236 million for the 13.9-acre site in 2011.
Gone -- at least for now -- are the grandiose development plans for a $3.8 billion resort with 5,200 rooms.
“We’ve listened and we’ve heard what people said,” Goode said. “This will complement the existing downtown skyline. We want to make sure we put a project forward that everybody is happy with and that adds value to the city of Miami.”