Miami-Dade County granted final zoning approval to the $4bn American Dream mega mall and entertainment complex on Thursday.
In a near-unanimous vote, county commissioners voted in favour of allowing real estate firm Triple Five to build the largest shopping mall and entertainment complex in the US. It is estimated that American Dream would attract 30 million visitors a year.
The proposed facility would cover a vast area of 668,000sqm. Plans include a comprehensive selection of 450 retailers, restaurants and services. Don Ghermezian, president of Triple Five, told the county commissioners that the development would be modelled on the company’s American Dream venture in New Jersey.
Entertainment is a strong component, as Ghermezian was keen to stress that the facility would be about much more than shopping.
“We’re not building a mega-mall,” he said. “We’re not in the mall business.”
Proposed entertainment facilities include what’s touted as the world’s tallest indoor ski park, a permanent Cirque du Soleil, a water ballet fountain, submarine rides, an aquarium, an arts centre for live performances and events, a multi-screen theatre complex and an indoor water park.
Carlos Gimenez, mayor of Miami-Dade County, was a supporter of the plan.
“This is the biggest project we’ve ever had in Miami-Dade County,” he told the Miami Herald.
The county commissioners voted on several issues for the development, including land-use changes, zoning and the development agreement. The approvals follow a thumbs up from the county planning board last week.
The project still faces a series of challenges before construction could begin. It needs to receive various permits and regulatory approvals as well as approximately $200m worth of road upgrades to serve the complex. The state of Florida has already agreed to fund some road widening but any shortfall would need to be covered by the developer.