Another Redevelopment Project Down the Tubes — This One in Miami

          Poinciana Park, the touted “$250 million retail and office complex rising from the barren landscape of a distressed area [of Miami] that smoldered during the 1980 riots” has proven to be chimerical.

          “Poinciana Park was to house biopharmaceutical powerhouses, like Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, and brainy researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The park on 15 acres then owned by Miami-Dade . . . would be a hub for 3500 jobs.” But it didn’t happen.

        This redevelopment project was ginned up in the wake of the 1980 (and 1983) riots in the Liberty City part of Miami. While the Florida Legislature was tightfisted and popped for only some $10 million in aid money on the grounds that it was in no mood to reward rioting, the feds were more generous. The Carter administration came up with an over $70 million “aid package” which was later supplemented by another $10 million.

         Fast forward to 2009.

         The October 30, 2009, issue of the Miami Herald (Builder’s Arrest Offers Lessons, Lost Promises) reports that “[t]oday [Poinciana Park is] mostly 15 empty acres in a still distressed area. No new jobs, just the same old poverty and decades of missed opportunities.” That would be a familiar story, but this one comes with a twist. Evidently the site was entrusted by the county to a redeveloper who, according to the Herald story, was just arrested for bilking the county.  The facts reported in this Miami Herald story are sketchy, so we reserve judment on who did what to whom until more details become available. In the meantime, the Herald reports that “the County lost the land to a bank’ after the redeveloper “charmed the Miami-Dade County Commission into paying him to build to build the biotech park and never delivered.”

          Your tax money at work. Again.

Follow up. The deal described in this Miami Herald article was “worked out by the now defunct Miami-Dade Empowerment Trust, which was supposed to spruce up 10 poor areas in the county. The Herald reports that the “Trust essentially squandered $68 million that was meant for those poor communities before the county cut the cord. For some details on how it was done, go to http://www.miamiherald.com/multimedia/news/povped/part4/

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