Terra Acquiring Former Miami Herald Site From Genting Group For $1.225 Billion, Plans Waterfront Transformation

An aerial perspective of the 15.5-acre development site where Resorts World Miami would have been built. Credit: Avison Young.

SmartCity Miami LLC, an investment group led by Miami-based Terra and its CEO, David Martin, has finalized terms for acquiring a 15.5-acre development site on Biscayne Bay in Downtown Miami. The group will purchase the site, previously home to the Miami Herald newspaper offices, from its owner, Genting Group, for $1.225 billion. The site is the largest undeveloped waterfront property in Miami’s urban core, midway between Miami Beach and Miami International Airport. It offers over 800 feet of direct frontage along Biscayne Bay and is adjacent to Miami’s Museum Park, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, and the Metromover transit system. The closing is set to take place later this year.

Michael T. Fay, John K. Crotty, David Duckworth, and Brian de la Fé of Avison Young brokered the transaction on behalf of Genting Group. A team led by Suzanne Amaducci at the law firm Bilzin Sumberg represented Genting Group. Ricardo Fraga of Greenberg Traurig and Laura Gangemi of Gangemi Law Group represented SmartCity Miami, LLC.

An aerial perspective of the 15.5-acre development site where Resorts World Miami would have been built. Credit: Avison Young.

Avison Young Principal & Miami Managing Director Michael T. Fay commented on the transaction, “The positioning of this rare opportunity to build a landmark mixed-use development on Miami’s most premier waterfront site attracted nine total offers – five of which exceeded $1 billion – made by prospective buyers from all over the world. Ultimately, our client chose the developer with the right experience and motivation to bring an iconic, transformational project to the area.”

Terra CEO David Martin expressed his enthusiasm about the acquisition, “This is a prized piece of real estate in the heart of one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest-growing cities, and we are honored to have been selected as the property’s next owner. At Terra, we have a long history of enhancing communities and transforming neighborhoods through careful planning, beautiful design, and a focus on connectivity and resiliency. Our development on Biscayne Bay will continue this tradition.”

Genting Group’s Kevin Jones remarked on the decision to sell to SmartCity Miami, “There were lots of attractive elements in Smart City’s bid, but above all, their deep understanding of — and commitment to — smart development in Miami made them by far and away the best choice. In holding on to a significant assemblage of adjacent land, Genting is positioning itself to accelerate development plans in both Florida and New York and is confident its new partnership with Smart City will lead to real benefits for the residents of Miami.”

Before the acquisition by SmartCity Miami LLC, Genting Group had ambitious plans for the site, which they called Resorts World Miami. The development, unveiled over a decade ago, was envisioned as a cluster of sculptural glass towers encompassing 10 million square feet of space. The project would have created 15,000 direct and indirect construction jobs and 30,000 permanent jobs upon completion.

Resorts World Miami. Designed by Arquitectonica.

Resorts World Miami was set to feature 700,000 square feet of convention and meeting space, including a 200,000 square-foot ballroom touted as the largest in the United States. The development would have included four hotels catering to market segments such as super luxury, contemporary, convention, and family. The hotels would have provided 5,200 units, while the residential component would have added 1,000 units to the Miami housing market.

Resorts World Miami. Designed by Arquitectonica.

The project’s plans also boasted a 3.6-acre swimming lagoon, extending 1,000 feet in length, and 250,000 square feet of retail space. With more than 50 restaurants envisioned for the development, Resorts World Miami would have become a significant dining and entertainment destination in the heart of Miami.

Resorts World Miami. Designed by Arquitectonica.

Genting Group’s vision for Resorts World Miami showcased a striking architectural marvel, with Arquitectonica at the helm of design. The development’s sculptural glass towers presented a bold and iconic presence, destined to become a defining feature of Miami’s skyline. Taking cues from nature, the building’s sinuous, undulating facades evoked the fluidity and rhythm of ocean waves, symbolizing the city’s intimate connection to the water.

The master plan incorporated verdant landscaping, abundant green spaces, and pedestrian-centric walkways harmoniously intertwined the built environment with nature. This visionary design fostered a sense of connectivity and offered an inviting atmosphere for residents and visitors.

Resorts World Miami. Designed by Arquitectonica.

With SmartCity Miami now taking over the site, it remains to be seen how their plans will differ from those initially proposed by Genting Group. However, the transformative potential of this prime waterfront location is undeniable, and the development promises to elevate Downtown Miami and improve access to the waterfront for the community. Terra CEO David Martin stated, “This site offers the opportunity to do something spectacular, something that all Miamians can take pride in, and we will deliver nothing short of that.”

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5 Comments on "Terra Acquiring Former Miami Herald Site From Genting Group For $1.225 Billion, Plans Waterfront Transformation"

  1. Those old renderings is how Miami’s new developments should look like. I hope Terra will build something similar or even more futuristic and I hope other developer will follow suit.

    Miami is the Dubai of the West so it’s time to step it up!

  2. The new Owners should consider hosting an international design competition.

  3. Interesting… wonder what will happen to Art Miami come December ‘23

    • Roger Carlier | May 31, 2023 at 1:54 pm | Reply

      I say, ART MIAMI 2023 will still be hosted at the largest Biscayne front development site and former home of the Miami Herald. The site acquisition by Smart City LLC and its grandiose assemblage of The Terra Group and Architectonica will be among the top Art exhibits for the 2023 Art Miami. Let’s get ready for the featuring of the ultimate modern art, “ architectural design”

  4. Buenas tardes .En español por favor

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