The largest mall in America is getting closer to approval in Northwest Miami-Dade
The largest mall in America moved closer to winning a key approval in Miami-Dade on Monday, as a county planning board gave a thumbs up to a $4 billion retail theme park that expects 30 million visitors a year.
American Dream Miami promotes itself as a local alternative to Disney World, and a shopping and entertainment destination spanning more than 6 million square feet and large enough to employ 14,000 people once it opens.
“As a mother of four small children,” Homestead resident Summer Davis told the Planning Advisory Board at Monday’s hearing, “I’m very excited about the prospect of having a theme park for them. … In order for us to take a family vacation to Orlando, it’s very expensive.”
The project by Triple Five, the Canada-based developer of Minnesota’s Mall of America, also expects to generate roughly 100,000 vehicle trips per day to a 175-acre triangle of wetlands and pastures where I-75 meets Florida’s Turnpike.
Environmental advocates warn of runaway development in a sensitive area, and residents say they’re already plagued by traffic and don’t want to endure the gridlock that would come from Miami-Dade’s largest tourist attraction.
“I don’t see how anyone with even the most vivid imagination can accommodate those cars in the surrounding roads,” said Derek Cintron, a Miami Lakes resident. “I’m just begging you to consider … what the residents have with regards to their quality of life.”
The advisory board granted near unanimous approval of the American Dream development agreement negotiated by the administration of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez. That clears the way for the County Commission to take its final vote on the project next week, on Thursday, May 17.
In early 2017, the 13-member commission granted preliminary approval for both American Dream and an even larger commercial and residential project by the Graham Companies on 300 acres to the south.