Jorge Perez and Stephen Ross have both signed up to become co-developers in the stalled redevelopment of Watson Island. The Miami Commission voted to give the project’s original developer, Flagstone Island Gardens, an extended lease allowing Perez’s The Related Group of Florida and Ross’s New York based Related Companies to join in on the plans of bringing a luxury hotel complex, shopping center, and mega marina to Watson Island.
Related has some pretty dramatic changes in store for the 12-year-old plans including increasing the amount of retail space, two high-end hotels, increasing the number of hotel beds, and adding 100,00 square feet of new convention center space to Watson Island. Perez also described his vision for the luxury shops falling “somewhere between Bal Harbor and the Dadeland Mall.”
While a minority of the Miami City commission has concerns about delaying construction, most are embracing the new vision. “This is a project we’ve been working on for a long time,” Vice Chairman Willy Gort said. “Finally, we have someone local who is going to get it done.”
The now expanding project will also create 4,000 new jobs and at least 40 percent will be set-aside for Miami residents. Perez believes that by June 2014 the developers will be ready to break ground and construction will likely be completed by 2017. “It’s really the most complicated job I have ever ben involved in,” Perez told the Miami Herald. “I will put 1,000 percent of my effort to make it a reality.”