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  Minutes of meeting
Sep 18, 2006
3:00 PM
The Miami River Commission’s (MRC) Economic Development and Commerce (EDC) Working Group convened on Monday, September 18, 2006, 3:00 PM, at 1407 NW 7 Street, Miami, FL.  The sign in sheet is enclosed

I.  Virtual Tour of the Future Marine Industries West on the Miami River Mr. Rudy Armenta and Mr. Charlie Nunez, Odebrecht, played a virtual tour, of the Upper River area.  Dr. Fran Bohnsack, Miami River Marine Group, thanked Odebrecht for their presentation, noting that the virtual tour was created in response to a great need in the western reaches of the Miami River corridor for cargo facilities and warehouses, which would thereby create more efficient shipping terminals. Dr. Bohnsack also noted the proposed Earlington Heights Interconnector project, in association with MIC development, would significantly shorten the federal navigable channel, losing additional space to accommodate such facilities.  Dr. Bohnsack added Miami-Dade Transit Director Roosevelt Bradley wrote a letter regarding the County’s agreeing to the recommendation to make the riverfront parcels acquired via eminent domain to create the Metro-Rail extension, to be used for marine industrial purposes after construction.   

Mr. Armenta explained that Odebrecht is a multi-national construction company devoted to community redevelopment and improving infrastructure/investment. Mr. Armenta noted Odebrecht was currently reviewing Miami International Airport (MIA) and its neighboring regions in an effort to maximize opportunities (cargo buildings, marine service areas, truck staging sites) and increase area compatibility.  Mr. Armenta noted the study area begins at NW 36th Street to the Miami River , and continues from Le Jenue Road to the entrance of MIA (a reverse J path). Mr. Armenta noted the Miami River generates $4 billion in annual trade, and it therefore necessary to integrate the river and its future with MIA’s capital improvement program and NW 36th Street ’s renewal. Mr. Armenta added the concept is to link the multi-modes of transportation in the upper river, including marine, vehicular, railroad, airport and the Intermodal Center .  Mr. Armenta suggested that a public/private partnership be created to address master development and financial planning for the aforementioned area.

Mr. Brett Bibeau, MRC Managing Director, asked marine stakeholders at the meeting for their opinion of the video.  Mr. Albert Rodriguez, MTB, stated he was pleased with the video, and was looking forward to the possibility of the river’s marine businesses utilizing the area to house additional cargo facilities and warehouses.  Mr. Rodriguez stated he is looking for additional warehousing to store cargo for his shipping terminals, and stated the available warehousing is insufficient in the upper river.  Mr. Bibeau asked if he had attended a previous MRC meeting when the applications and information regarding the available incentives for new and expanding business on the Miami River , and Mr. Rodriguez confirmed the MRC had provided those materials to him at a previous meeting.  Ms. Carmen Polanca, Antillean Marine, stated she has attended three meetings where the virtual tour was presented, and it has been received with unanimous support.  Dr. Bohnsack added it has been presented to Commissioners Barreiro and Rolle, and Mr. Jose Abreu, Director of the Miami International Airport (MIA), whom are supportive of the concept.  Captain Beau Payne, P & L Towing, asked how the project would be funded, and Mr. Armenta replied that though there is a need to improve and maximize opportunities for the area, identifying funding remains an issue.

Mr. Mark Bailey, Merrill-Stevens, asked for a project timeline, and Dr. Bohnsack noted that since this project would require the creation of a public/private partnership, a long-term timeline could not be determined at this time.  Mr. Armenta stated Odebrecht has private long term investors whom would be interested in “Ground Lease” where the investors would fund and construct the improvements and uses for 20 years, then it reverts back to the property owners.  Mr. Armenta added a Special Purpose Company (SPC) with equity partners and users.  Dr. Bohnsack suggested that key Miami River stakeholders create an advisory committee representing marine interests to oversee the planning and vision of the area through the creation of a marketable master plan. Mr. Armenta noted Odebrecht could assist in the creation of a master/strategic plan.  Mr. Bibeau inquired if it is possible to create a powerpoint using some of the renditions from the moving virtual tour, and Odebrecht stated they would look into that possibility.

Dr. Bohnsack stated the Miami River Marine Group, is seeking the MRC’s favorable recommendation and support in bringing the presented concept to fruition.  In absence of the EDC Chairs whom were unable to attend the meeting, Dr. Bohnsack asked Mr. Bibeau if he felt it was consistent with the Miami River Corridor Urban Infill Plan, and Mr. Bibeau replied yes, he felt it is consistent with the plans vision for this upper river area. 

The EDC thanked Odebrecht and the MRMG for their presentation, and Mr. Bibeau explained he would suggest to the MRC’s Executive Board on Thursday, September 21 that they place this item on the MRC’s October 2 meeting agenda.  If the Executive Board decides to place the item on the MRC October agenda, Mr. Bibeau noted he would like to make copies of the presentation CD to mail MRC board members and designees one week in advance of the meeting, which will take place on October 2, noon, Robert King High, New Board Room, 1407 NW 7 Street.

II. Distribution & Discussion of “Economic Impact of the Recreational Marine Industry Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties, Florida- 2005” - Mr. Bibeau provided the EDC with copies of the aforementioned study, performed by Thomas J. Murray & Associates, Inc. for the Marine Industries Association of South Florida and the Broward Alliance.

III. New Business – following items were presented/discussed:

  • Mr. Mark Bailey , Merrill-Stevens, agreed to present “The Economic Development Impacts of Merrill-Stevens Comprehensive Revitalization of the Miami River Through the Modernization and Expansion of its Dry Dock Ship Repair Facilities” at the October EDC meeting
  • Dr. Fran Bohnsack distributed an invitation to the Eight Annual Marine Summit, hosted by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County, the Marine Council, the Monroe County Marine Interests and the Miami River Marine Group, on October 4, 1-5 pm, at the Broward County Convention Center, Floridian Ballroom, 3rd Floor, 1950 Eisenhower Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale

The next regularly scheduled third Monday of the Month, 3 PM , EDC meeting was confirmed for October 16, 2006 , 1407 NW 7 ST, New Board Room.  The meeting adjourned.