The Biscayne Times

Thursday
Mar 21st
For the Birds PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Dorschner, Special to the BT; Photos by Silvia Ros   
October 2014

The long, dismal saga of Watson Island

FCoveror the past 80 years, developers and politicians have offered grand dreams for Watson Island -- theme parks, a statute of Christopher Columbus bigger than the Statue of Liberty, an 850-foot space needle, a super-sized shopping mall, exposition centers to sell goods to Latin Americans, a “sports palace,” aquarium, a Science City, plus many visions of high-rise hotels and condos.

None of that has happened. Instead, this city-owned island -- near downtown Miami on a causeway to ultra-popular South Beach -- continues to be a colossal sink hole on a precious hunk of public property. A 1996 Miami Herald story called it a “Never-Never Land by the Bay, a Black Hole for Developers’ Dreams.”

Now -- finally! -- corporate boosters crow that’s about to change. Critics say that’s nonsense.

The island’s main tenant, Jungle Island, has struggled through severe financial troubles for the past decade, and there are serious questions about whether it’s providing the jobs for low-income Miami residents it promised to qualify for a $25 million federal loan to build the place. Its new president just announced a complete makeover, with adventurous water sports, kids zooming overhead on zip lines, and fine new restaurants as part of a “real jungle experience in the heart of Miami.”

Watson Island’s other main tenant, Flagstone Property Group, has done virtually nothing with the 11 acres it was granted 13 years ago for a huge development of twin high-rises for hotels, condos, and retail, plus a megayacht marina. If the place is ever constructed, Flagstone has promised to pay the city $2 million a year in base rent, even though the city’s latest appraisals show the developer should pay $7 million. The delays have so outraged Miami voters that in August they passed a referendum to make sure such an open-ended deal never happens again.

Flagstone’s Miami lobbyist, Brian May, touts that the $700 million development will soon get started, and Watson Island dreams are finally becoming a reality. “This area is reaching critical mass,” he says, pointing out Jungle Island’s plans and the creation nearby of the Pérez Art Museum Miami, the soon-to-be-finished Frost Museum of Science, and the just-approved Skyrise Miami at Bayfront Marketplace.

CoverStory_1Not so fast, says the newly formed Coalition Against Causeway Chaos. Two of its members recently filed a lawsuit against the city, demanding the Flagstone deal be stopped because the city was violating its own charter by not charging fair market value.

Plaintiff Stephen Herbits: “There comes a time when the public gets angry enough with politicians who manipulate government for their own ends that they collectively say: ‘Stop. Enough.’ We have started the effort through what will be series of lawsuits questioning a dozen acts of wrongdoing.”

Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado sees no wrongdoing. “I feel very happy that Watson Island is finally getting to be something,” he says. “A lot of things are going to be happening,” including a new seaplane terminal, a heliport, and perhaps an expansion of the Miami Children’s Museum, which sits across the causeway from Jungle Island.

Meanwhile, veteran developer Martin Margulies lambasts the city for giving away public land for questionable private ventures. He dismisses Jungle Island as a “banquet hall with parrots,” and he calls it “an absolute scandal” that Flagstone was allowed to keep its deal for a decade without paying proper rent: “Taxpayers should be outraged.”

Editor’s note: An update to this story is available at author John Dorschner’s website Miami Web News, miamiwebnews.blogspot.com.


BCoverStory_3_1989-011-2314ack in 1916, construction started on the “Million Dollar Causeway.” Never mind that costs were a mere $625,000 for the first version of what’s become the MacArthur Causeway, the exaggerations were going full bore from the start, as related in Paul George’s 2003 account of Watson Island in

The island -- first dubbed Causeway Island -- was formed by stages of dredging to deepen the channel for the nearby port until it finally reached 86 acres.

In the 1920s, it became home to Pappy Chalk’s seaplanes that flew off to the Bahamas. In the 1930s, Goodyear established a base there for a blimp. In the 1940s, the Miami Yacht Club and Miami Outboard Club took over the island’s northeastern corner.

In 1949 the state deeded Causeway Island to the City of Miami, under the condition that “said lands shall be used solely for public purposes.” The name was changed to Watson Island to honor John Watson, an early Miami mayor.

CoverStory_2

In 1961 the Japanese community gave the barren spoil island a patch of green, tranquil beauty by creating the Japanese Garden, complete with a ceremonial teahouse.

Still, dreams dominated. Perhaps the most infamous incident came in the mid-1980s, when a group of big-name investors -- including former United Nations ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick and Jorge Mas Canosa, head of the right-wing Cuban American National Foundation -- proposed a huge development.

City Commissioner Joe Carollo objected to the lease being given away without competitive bidding. No one listened until Carollo found that one co-investor was a London man who did business with the national airlines of several communist countries. Carollo decried the commie connection, an enraged Mas Canosa challenged him to a duel, and the deal, like so many others, died.

For decades the island remained desolate. The blimp left in 1979. The Japanese Garden, victimized frequently by vandals, closed in 1981, not to reopen for seven years, after Japanese businessmen revitalized it with a $330,000 donation. Even so, the garden remained a lonely enclave. In 2000 Janet Acosta, a Miami Herald employee, was abducted while eating her lunch in the garden, and was later killed. 


ECoverStory_4ntrepreneurs kept lusting after the site, including the owner of the iconic Parrot Jungle after its Pinecrest neighbors repeatedly fought plans for expansion.

In 1996 the city approved a 60-year lease with Parrot Jungle in which the attraction would pay the city up to six percent of revenue from its 18 acres.

As usual, the problem was finding construction funds. Owner Bern Levine, a veterinarian, hired lobbyist Rodney Barreto, who persuaded the city and county to guarantee a $25 million loan from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. In return, the attraction promised it would provide jobs, half of them set aside for low-income Miamians. But the nature of the promise is unclear. A city study says it was for 500 jobs. A county spokeswoman says it was 603.

County commissioners agreed to the deal, but only after Levine consented to donate $2 million to the Miami zoo over 20 years.

The challenge of converting the spoil island into a jungle fell to Jeff Shimonski, the attraction’s longtime horticulturalist. He designated 80 large trees on the site to be moved to the property’s edge during construction, then moved them back to start the jungle feeling. Two big banyans were kept in place. More than 50,000 tons of structural fill came from Virginia Key.

Instead of commercial fertilizer, he trucked in 800 tons of compost he had been building up for years in South Dade, says Shimonski, who is the garden columnist for this publication. His achievements prompted then-Gov. Jeb Bush to present him with a statewide conservation award in 2002.

To help finance construction, Levine brought in Miami developer Ronald Krongold, who assumed a minority ownership in the attraction -- one he still holds. Construction costs ultimately reached $57 million. (Jungle Island did not make Levine available for an interview.)

CoverStory_5

 The attraction clearly clung to big hopes for revenue. “We had lots of consultants,” Shimonski recalls. They envisioned luring the million-plus cruise ship passengers who came and went annually to the nearby port.

When Parrot Jungle Island opened in 2003, the high expectations were quickly dashed. Instead of a $1 million profit its first year, the park lost $2.6 million. “Every area we have is below projections,’’ Levine told a Herald reporter.

One major miscalculation: Cruise ship passengers tended to rush from airport to seaport and back. Few made any side trips.

Another failure was using the gift shop to sell live birds from $20 to $12,000. In 2004, shortly after the park opened on Watson Island, bird-lover groups complained loudly, saying many tropical birds, such as macaws and cockatoos, made bad pets and were difficult to handle. Levine ended the sales -- not because of the complaints, he said, but because sales were a tiny fraction of the $1.2 million a year he had hoped for.

The facility was late in making rent payments and paying taxes, so the county had to step in and make some of its HUD payments. A Miami Zoo spokeswoman says Levine has yet to donate any of the promised $2 million.

Over the next several years, Parrot Jungle’s accountants said that the attraction’s ability to continue as a “going concern” was “subject to significant uncertainty.”

Levine’s consultants said parrots weren’t enough to draw tourists, so they increased its emphasis on ever-popular monkeys and brought in tigers. In 2007 the park was rebranded as Jungle Island.

Another round of nasty publicity came in 2010 when terrified visitors watched Mahesh, a 600-pound tiger, leap over his 12-foot fence, chasing a gibbon named Watson that had gotten loose. The tiger hurt no one, but visitors cowered in corners for an hour until the tiger was lured into a portable cage.

Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission charged Levine with two misdemeanors in the incident, alleging that the gibbon had gotten loose because of human and mechanical error, and that the tiger cage didn’t meet state specifications because almost two feet of mulch had been added to the bottom of the cage, which made its fence effectively lower than it should have been.

The Wildlife Commission didn’t respond by deadline to a question about what happened to Levine’s charges, but the upshot was that the enclosure was rebuilt with a 20-foot-high fence made of heavier-gauge metal -- considerably higher than state regulations required.

Financial woes mounted. In 2013 the city’s independent auditor general, Theodore Guba, reported that Jungle Island’s own accountant “expressed doubt of its ability to continue as a going concern.” Attendance -- originally projected by consultants to be 745,000 a year -- was about half that.

Guba’s report concluded that Jungle Island was exaggerating its payroll expenses and that it had 426 full-time employees -- 74 less than the 500 promised for the HUD loan. The report noted that HUD had not set a deadline for fulfilling the employment quota.

Levine took out a full-page ad in the Herald, firing back that he had paid millions in rent and sales tax, and Jungle Island really employed 600 people. Still, Levine quietly began looking for someone who could dramatically remake the attraction. 


FCoverStory_6or more than a decade, the City of Miami has been counting on a little-known entity, Flagstone Property Group, to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in rent over decades for a massive development of Watson Island’s western shoreline. The company remains in many ways mysterious, led by an obscure Turkish developer named Mehmet Bayraktar, whose family has built some commercial properties in Turkey.

Last month this reporter found a phone number and address on the company’s website. After two phone calls to voice mail were not returned, the reporter visited the listed office -- on the third floor of a building just off Lincoln Road. The lobby directory made no mention of Flagstone. When the reporter pressed 3 on the elevator pad, the light didn’t go on. He took the stairs to the third floor and peered through the window of a locked door to see a large suite of empty offices.

What the company has been good at is hiring lobbyists. In 2001 the newly formed Flagstone hired 17 of them and beat out two competitors to get a contract with the city to build Island Gardens, promising to pay $2 million a year and one percent of revenues after the development was completed.

Nothing happened. Flagstone blamed 9/11, then the recession. By 2009 the Herald reported that Flagstone had run up $2 million in liens. The developer kept going to the city, asking for extensions and modifications to its contract. The city commission complied.

Last year the deal appeared to revive when mega-developer Jorge Pérez’s Related Group expressed interest in partnering with Flagstone for an expanded project that would include a large shopping mall.

Retail areas in downtown and Miami Beach howled that the competition would hurt them. Beach officials warned of gridlock on the MacArthur Causeway. Pérez dropped out, but not before Flagstone got another extension this past May, when the city commission again voted to allow the developer to continue -- and with the original base rent of $2 million. Flagstone promised to begin construction by June 2, 2014.

CoverStory_7

Stephen Herbits, a veteran corporate lawyer and federal government advisor who lives on the nearby Venetian Causeway, launched a lawsuit through attorney Samuel Dubbin, demanding public records for the project. After lengthy court battles, they obtained documents that included a city appraisal done before the May commission vote showing that a base rent of $7.26 million was fair market value -- far above the $2 million the commission had set years earlier.

Several commissioners said they hadn’t known about the new appraisal before they voted. Mayor Regalado maintains the commission’s “hands were tied” because of the original agreement, but in fact the commission in May voted to continue the agreement when it could have canceled it.

The delays meant the city and Flagstone had to go back to the state to get a renewed exemption from the deed requirement that the island be used only for “public purposes.” As the Broward Bulldog reported, several state agencies had major reservations about the renewal. Flagstone hired Billy Rubin, a top lobbyist who’s close to Gov. Rick Scott. The new exemption sailed through the cabinet. Rubin “did a great job,” says fellow Flagstone lobbyist Brian May.

The June 2 deadline, however, was looming. Flagstone solved that problem by hiring a diver to photograph sea grasses that could be hurt by dredging for the marina. The city’s legal staff deemed that sufficient to show work had begun.

Developer Margulies is astounded that such an action could be construed as construction: “Absolutely absurd.”

Meanwhile, Jungle Island was moving in a radical new direction, which was announced last month by its ebullient new president, John Dunlap, age 37.

Dunlap, who had become head of the prestigious San Diego Zoo at age 31, had moved on to form a consulting company, Iconic Attractions, which took over all operations at Jungle Island in June 2013. His first major move was to hire Thinkwell, a Southern California entertainment company, to create a new vision.

Shimonski, the vice president of facilities, says Dunlap clearly wanted a major shakeup: “He told us in the executive committee that the park, out of a ten, was a two or a three, and we were responsible. His goal was to farm out everything.”

CoverStory_8_Jungle_Island_renderingDunlap says he doubts he described the situation that way, but he views himself like a new football coach brought in to beef up a losing team, and that meant making big changes, including out-sourcing work that he thought experts could do better than in-house staff.

Shimonski knew the park needed major changes to improve finances, but he says he argued with Dunlap that horticulture was better left in-house because of his staff’s long experience in handling tropical vegetation on the island. “This is not a machine,” Shimonski notes.

In any case, Shimonski says, he had been planning to leave to work-full time on his consulting business, and he retired earlier this year after almost four decades with the attraction.

“He moved on. No hard feelings,” says Dunlap, who made changes quickly. He out-sourced food operations to Ovations Food Services, a Comcast company, and found a firm to run the gift shop. Parking, photographers, and animal care were also placed in the hands of outside firms.

For landscaping and security, he turned to SFM Services, a Hialeah Gardens company. Dunlap says he worked with the new firm to make the park “more of a manicured version of a jungle,” with pruning intended to open up more views of Biscayne Bay.

Out-sourcing generally leads to major drops in staffing and reduced employee benefits, but Dunlap says all the companies now involved are fully committed to following the HUD guidelines, and some of the deals aren’t really out-sourcing. “Ovations -- that’s really a joint venture, a partnership,” which is investing in improved restaurants and banquet facilities.

John LaChance, an Ovations vice president, says no regular workers have been laid off at Watson Island, but it’s gone through several managers in trying to get things right at the facility. He says the banquet operations are a key revenue builder until Dunlap’s changes take place.

Dunlap won’t say exactly how many people now work at Jungle Island, but “we’re fully compliant” with HUD job requirements, and “we’re only going to get better” in hiring as expansion gets under way. 

CoverStory_9

The city says it’s the county’s job to monitor Jungle Island’s HUD commitment. The county reports that the last employee count it had was 431, and that was apparently two years ago.

“We have yet to receive information on jobs that would fill the gap of 172,” to get the attraction to the promised 603 jobs, says county spokeswoman Cristina Armand. “We expect that Jungle Island will be forthcoming with that data. If Jungle Island does not meet the requirements of the loan agreement, it will be out of compliance.” Armand adds that after this reporter’s inquiry, the county asked Jungle Island how many people it employed. At press time she had not received a reply.

Gloria Shanahan, HUD spokeswoman in Miami, says her agency last received a report from the county in 2012, when the employee count was 431. She says HUD isn’t sure when the next report is due. 

T. Willard Fair, president of the Urban League of Greater Miami, is bothered by such ambiguity. If a company takes federal money with a promise of creating jobs, “you have told them accountable,” he says. “That’s absolutely important, and it doesn’t sound like that was done in this case.”

Dunlap is vague about specifics when it comes to Jungle Island’s finances, but he says the company is up-to-date in its current rent and HUD payments, and Mayor Regalado says that’s true.

Dunlap maintains that companies like Ovations wouldn’t back Jungle Island if they thought the attraction was in serious trouble, but he won’t release the park’s latest financial reports. The city has them, but did not respond to a public records request in time for publication.

Dunlap says Margulies’s wisecrack about a “banquet hall with parrots” is “way off,” but he acknowledges that at least a third of revenue comes from food, and that the park hosts more than 700 events a year, including those in banquet halls.

He’s continuing to build this part of the business. In fact, this month the park is hosting for 20 nights a Halloween attraction for adults, “Terror in the Jungle,” including a full bar in a VIP Zombie Lounge. That event costs $45-$55. (Regular full-fare park admission is $35 for adults, $26 for children, with $8 for parking.)


LCoverStory_10_Jeff_Shimonskiast month Dunlap unveiled a grand new plan based on the Thinkwell proposal, which had started by creating a character named Javier Watson for a “backstory.” This fictitious Watson was a “local architect and bird fancier...a relentless eccentric” who flew around the world collecting birds and animals to put in the jungle he created.

Dunlap says Javier Watson’s story isn’t intended to be presented to the public, but instead is a foundation for remaking Jungle Island, which Dunlap says “promises to provide every guest a real jungle experience of adventure, animals, discovery, and play.

“Notice,” he adds, “I’ve put animals in second place.”

A winding waterway through the park will be deepened so that people can swim in it. Cabanas will be placed near the entrance, and more cabanas will be at the far end of the property, on a small beach featuring inflatable water slides.

“We have a bunch of plans to get people wet all day,” Dunlap says. “The zip lines will get people wet. It doesn’t mean you can’t come here and have a dry experience, but there will be a lot of water-based activities,” with lockers and changing areas. “Our goal is to be Miami’s water attraction.”

Rather than visitors spending two or three hours looking at animals, Dunlap hopes they will spend the whole day, indulging in water activities, strolling along a bay boardwalk, and eating in restaurants, such as a new offering in the center of the park, next to the orangutan enclosure and overlooking the bay.

The changes are definitely happening, Dunlap insists. The new beach area and the orangutan restaurant will be “done by the first quarter, come hell or high water,” he promises.

Costs for all the changes he is talking about will run into “the tens of millions.” Dunlap says most of this is already funded, but not from banks. At first, he’s coy about the money’s source. “If I told you how we did it, why would anyone hire us (Iconic Attractions)?” But later it emerges that his new “strategic partners” -- such as the food service -- are investing in the new restaurants, which will include a destination restaurant just outside the entrance. Dunlap’s own company is also investing in the facility, but he dodges a question about whether he’s getting an equity stake.

One area that Dunlap says does not need work is the perimeter fence around the entire park. Shimonski, the former facilities vice president, says he continues to be concerned about the public’s protection from the tigers and other animals. Like all zoos with dangerous animals, the place needs a strong perimeter around the entire facility, and Shimonski asserts that Jungle Island has a “significant hole,” including the park entrance.

Shimonski says he warned Dunlap about that, and Dunlap shrugged it off. “I was kind of shocked it wasn’t a priority,” he recounts.

CoverStory_11_jungle_island_0238

Dunlap says there’s no problem. “I have a barrier fence around the whole darn place.” As former head of the San Diego Zoo, “I am extremely familiar with the regulations.” He says the main entrance -- like at many zoos -- doesn’t have a fence that visitors must go through, but if any animal escaped, the opening could be blocked quickly. He “cannot imagine any scenario” in which a tiger could escape again.

Shimonski says he’s not aware of anything the park could use to block the broad and open main entrance in case of emergency, and that the park is especially vulnerable at night. Dunlap says he’s beefed up nighttime security considerably since Shimonski left, and there are many new safeguards in place.

Jungle Island, Dunlap insists, complies with all regulations on animals that are demanded through regular inspections from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “Anything that’s reported ‘You need to do this better,’ we do it.”

Federal USDA inspections have cited only minor issues, such as the kitchen ceiling in the barn area needing to be repaired. The state agency’s latest inspection, done in August, reported, “No violations were observed and all enclosures exceeded state regulations.”

When a reporter persisted with questions about the perimeter fence, an agency spokeswoman said no officials were available for comment, but pointed to the regulations, which generally require an eight-foot-high perimeter fence for facilities with lions, tigers, and bears. The regulations, however, do not apply to facilities licensed before the fence requirements took effect in 2008. Jungle Island opened in 2003.


SCoverStory_13till searching for information last month, this reporter found Flagstone had a temporary module set up on Watson Island, meant to serve as a customer showroom. Inside, he found two men. They said they weren’t allowed to talk to the press. One said a large model of the twin-story development wasn’t worth photographing because it was out of date.

Eventually, Brian May, Flagstone’s lobbyist, agreed to an interview. He says that after 13 years of delays, many things are happening.

Bayraktar is spending about $20 million of his own money to build the marina, May says, starting with a new seawall, to be followed by dredging. The marina should be finished enough by next February to host some megayachts for the Miami International Boat Show (but a boat show exec says she’s had no contact with Flagstone).

A marketing company will start soon, updating the website and handling media inquiries, May continues, and Greenwich Group International, a major investment firm, has been enlisted to find investors for the $700 million project. Greenwich chief executive Simon Milde e-mailed: “We have several groups that are currently doing their diligence on the development. I estimate that we will have chosen the partner within two months.”

May says he expects construction of the towers to begin next year. “It’s a very rich deal for the city,” he contends. The megayacht marina will bring in the super wealthy, who will spend a lot money. He expects construction to create work for 1600, with 1100 permanent jobs once everything’s open.

Critics have heard such buoyant tales many times before. Late last month Stephen Herbits and fellow Venetian Causeway resident Sharon Kirby Wynne filed a new lawsuit through attorney Samuel Dubbin, asking the courts to throw out the Flagstone contract because, among other things, the city charter requires that the city sell or lease property only at fair market value.

Herbits has formed a group called the Coalition Against Causeway Chaos, with the website causewaychaos.org. The site features a long list of problems with the Flagstone development, and it raises concerns that, with the boom in South Beach and the recent opening of the tunnel entrance on Watson Island for port traffic, congestion will be an ever-increasing problem along the MacArthur Causeway.

May dismisses Herbits as “a thorn in the side of this project.” He says the city simply honored its original contract, and the $2 million rent is just a base. He projects that the additional payment of one percent in revenue will add several million more dollars a year to city coffers.

CoverStory_14_Flagstone_rendering_1Mayor Regalado shrugs off the latest legal wrangling. “They’re always filing lawsuits,” he says of the Venetian residents. “That’s one of the reasons why Flagstone has been late.”

The mayor says Flagstone is “now following the timetable. They have gone by the book.” Still, he is not happy with the lengthy delays and doesn’t want the city to experience a Flagstone saga again. Neither does Commissioner Frank Carollo, who pushed a referendum stating that, in the future, deals with the city are dead if developers don’t act within four years. In August, voters overwhelmingly approved the measure.

According to Mayor Regalado, much more is happening. “Watson Island is special,” he says, and new developments “are moving very fast,” including plans for a new seaplane terminal and heliport. “We’re very excited.”

The seaplane venture is led by Ignacio Vega, whose Nautilus Enterprises LLC has architects working on plans for the 2.9 acres of the old Chalk’s site. They include a customs-immigration building, restaurants, and public areas to watch the seaplanes and cruise ships.

At present, three flights a day are using the old terminal to fly to and from the Bahamas, and Vega hopes to add many more, perhaps going to Key West and Cape Canaveral. Roberto Gomez, manager of the terminal, calls the seaplanes “an iconic attraction,” like the cable cars in San Francisco, and are worthy of promoting.

Vega says no seaplane terminal in Florida makes money and he will need restaurants to make the development work. When lobbyist Brian May hears about the possibility of new waterfront restaurants next to the Flagstone site, he responds: “We will not be happy with that. We certainly wouldn’t want someone to interfere with what we’re planning.”

Meanwhile the Miami Children’s Museum is doing well, says chief executive Deborah Spiegelman. Since it opened on Watson Island in 2003, it has quietly gone about its business, attracting some 430,000 visitors a year.

In 2012, the museum reported a loss of $378,000 on revenue of $5.6 million. About $1.6 million is earned through admissions and dues, with the rest coming from grants, gifts, and side sales such as food and the gift shop. Spiegelman says she’s developed plans for adding a new wing at some point.

CoverStory_15_Flagstone_rendering_2Beth Dunlop, editor of MODERN Magazine and a longtime Miami architecture critic, offers this big-picture perspective: “Watson Island makes me really sad. I think about what should have been, what could have been, and I could weep. It was donated to the City of Miami for public use, and at this point, it’s been largely privatized.”

Dunlop laments that Parrot Jungle on the island is “a stupid location for a ‘bird attraction,’” but reserves her real anger for Flagstone, “which I have found morally and philosophically wrong from Day One. To take public land and turn it into an enclave not merely for the rich but for the very very very rich -- owners of megayachts and their friends -- seems to me the subversion of all that we in America are supposed to believe in.

“I could imagine an amazing playground and even amusement attractions,” Dunlop continues, “a carousel like Brooklyn has, a waterfront promenade like Battery Park City’s, and -- oh, I could go on. While other cities are steadily reclaiming their waterfronts for public use, Miami is bent on giving its away, and I weep over that.”

Then there’s sea level rise, the prime worry of many environmentalists and policy makers. “Everybody is concerned with sea level rise, no question about it,” says May, the lobbyist. But Flagstone has had many planners and designers studying its spoil island site in the middle of the bay. “It is,” he assures, “not a worry for us.”

 

Feedback: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Art and Culture

ArtFeature_1A congress of curators is coming to town

Read more...

Art Listings

Events Calendar

BizBuzz

Pix_BizBuzz_3-19Sales, special events, and more from the people who make Biscayne Times possible

Read more...

Picture Story

Pix_PictureStory_3-19A view of our past from the archives of HistoryMiami

Read more...

Community Contacts