Why hasn't the developer been held accountable for construction of public baywalk?
Back in 2007, as part of the process of receiving approval to open the Mondrian Hotel, the developer (Russell Galbut) was obligated to pay the full cost for the permitting, design and construction of the public baywalk between 10th-12th Street. The developer has received financial benefits over the past 10 years from the being allowed to open the hotel. Why hasn't the public received the agreed upon benefit of the completion of this section of the baywalk?
An excerpt from the agreement between the city of Miami Beach and Russell Galbut states:
"Whereas, as part of the review process of the Design Review Application, Owner voluntarily proffered and agreed that, subject to the provisions of the Order, it would construct a public baywalk ("Public Baywalk") along the rear of the Property, and the immediately abutting properties to the north and south, extending from 10th St to the northern property line of 1200 West Avenue; and ....."
Recently, the same developer has proposed tying the completion of this section of the public baywalk with gaining city approval for an up-zoned marina. These are two issues which are separate and should not be discussed together. The developer is already obligated to build the baywalk so it should not be tied to benefiting from yet another project.
As part of these agreements entered into with the City of Miami Beach, the developer was mandated to deposit $1.4 million into escrow to cover partial cost of the baywalk. In subsequent actions, approximately $1 million was returned to the developer despite not completing any work on the baywalk.
West Avenue Neighborhood Association (WAvNA) has sent letters to our city government asking these questions:
Why did the developer receive a refund from escrow deposits from the original $1.4 million down to $400,000?
Is the contractor contractually obligated to build the Public Baywalk from 10th to 12th Street, and if so what is the City planning to enforce that obligation?
We will keep you updated on matters related to the baywalk between 10th and 12th Street.