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Miami’s “Airport City” Would Put It in Class With Frankfurt, Dubai, Amsterdam, Singapore

One of many exciting renderings of Airport City assets

In Miami, plans for an “Airport City” that would add hotels, stores, and business centers to the property surrounding the MIA terminal have been five years in the works. The project is viewed as a surefire revenue boost that would make the airport a travel destination in and of itself. The $512 million project would be funded by private developer Odebrecht USA.

In return for putting up the funding, Odebrecht would run the facility for 50 years (40 years with a 10-year option), paying rent and a percentage of its revenues to the county. Projections show that the airport could receive nearly $580 million in operating revenues for the deal, the approval of which will be voted on by Miami-Dade County Commissioners next month.

If the deal is approved, Miami-Dade County will retain ownership of the 33 acres east of the airport’s terminals and parking garages. Assets would revert back to the county at the end of their agreement with Odebrecht. Airport City will be built in three phases with the hospitality and convenience centers being built first as interest is continued to be gained for the business center. The costs, according to the Engineering News-Record, are split into three parcels:

–A $359 million business center, with corporate offices, meeting space, a hotel and a new station for the MIA Mover train;
–A $141 million hospitality center, featuring a four-star hotel and dining and meeting space, and;
–A $12 million convenience center, providing space for services such as a dry cleaner, convenience store, gas station and pet hotel/spa.

The Airport City at MIA has a construction budget estimated at $512 million and its payroll impact is estimated at $827 million. In building an “aerotropolis,” Miami will join the ranks of Dublin, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong. The concept for the cities built around airports comes from the theories of an American Professor.

The concept of “aerotropolis” was first coined by Dr. John Kasarda, a University of North Carolina professor and director of the Center for Air Commerce at UNC’s Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise.

According to his philosophy, when regions and/or countries make better use of airport lands and land surrounding airports, it becomes easier for businesses to participate in the global economy. As increasing numbers of businesses and commercial service providers cluster around airports, the aerotropolis becomes a major urban destination, but these areas must follow principals of urban planning, says Kasarda.

The project is a major score for Odebrecht USA, a company which is also currently working on a port project in Rio De Janeiro called Porto Maravilha. According to Gilberto Neves, President & CEO of Odebrecht USA, the company’s passion for the project stems from “the opportunity to create a significant impact on our community through thousands of jobs. Also, by literally creating new commercial uses on what is today vacant land, and connecting them to the mass-transit lines, we will create a sustainable array of community benefits that will prosper for generations to come.”

Jobs? Infrastructure!? Get this man a gig in Congress…


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