Canadian developer Triple Five Worldwide says it is on schedule as highway bids due this month will eventually lead to its American Dream Mall. The project is moving steadily after receiving county approval last spring, representatives say.

Triple Five Worldwide is looking to construct the largest mall in the US between Florida’s Turnpike Extension, Interstate 75 and Miami Gardens Drive. Plans are moving since the company first expressed interest three years ago. The project is estimated at $4.5 billion to $5 billion, ultimately producing a mall with retail, dining, and entertainment in 5 million square feet of space.

Triple Five Worldwide says it and other stakeholders are moving forward on the infrastructure changes coming to Interstate 75. The company says it plans to invest $220 million in roadway and highway changes.

Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, a Saul Ewing Arnstein and Lehr attorney who represents Triple Five Worldwide, told Miami Today that the past year has been focused on infrastructure changes.

He said, “There is a massive amount of infrastructure that needs to be placed before we can open American Dream.”

His team coordinated right-of-way agreements with the county, City of Hialeah, Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, Florida Department of Transportation and private property owners near the site. Bids for construction of the interchange of Interstate 75 and Northwest 170th Street went out after

agreements were in place, and are expected June 25. Construction is to begin on the interchange soon after selection of the contractor, Mr. Diaz de la Portilla said.

Mr. Diaz de la Portilla said, “That is one of the critical pieces of transportation infrastructure, if not the most critical piece of transportation infrastructure that is needed for the project.”

Other components to Interstate 75 are moving along in the meantime. Mr. Diaz de la Portilla says other interchange modifications, such as at I-75 and Miami Gardens Drive and I-75 and 180th Street, are in the works. His team has been prioritizing highway changes since receiving county approval in May 2018.

He said, “The project can’t move forward unless the infrastructure is placed first, particularly transportation infrastructure.”

The sooner the roadway and highway changes are complete the closer Triple Five Worldwide will get to debuting American Dream Mall, he said. “The opening date has always been tied from day one to the turnpike interchange. In fact, in our development agreement, we can’t open until the turnpike interchange is operational and the road infrastructure is in place.”

Other components related to highway modifications are also moving forward.

Lourdes Gomez, deputy director for the county’s Department of Regulatory Economic Resources, says her team is overseeing two permits at this time. The first relates to the Division of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) permitting process needed for plans to widen the turnpike.

“There’s a big project going on in terms of the turnpike,” Ms. Gomez said. “It’s not just the interchange. It’s a large swath of the turnpike that is being widened. In order to do that, one of the approvals that they needed was from our Division of Environmental ResourcesManagement.”

The permit will allow a wider highway near county canals. Two of three of these permits have been approved and the third is expected in the coming week, she said.

The other permit in progress focuses on the interchange on Northwest 170th Street.

“It has to do with conveying property to the turnpike that they need because it is impacting the footprint,” Ms. Gomez said. “They call it a limited access, but it’s basically the footprint of the interchange that they are constructing.”

The county’s Water and Sewer Department, meanwhile, is moving forward with its design plans for the necessary sewer lines needed in the area regardless of Triple Five not submitting its site plan or plat. Department Deputy Director Douglas Yoder will oversee the 24-inch line that will connect I-75, Northwest 170th Street and 97th Avenue to the existing system.

“Our primary issue was the design and construction of a sewer line to serve the entire area, and that project is on track to be completed in approximately two years, with design currently underway,” Mr. Yoder wrote by email.

The developer is to cover the connection fee of $7,059,900 to the existing sewer system.

Miami-Dade County Department Services, another department involved in bringing the mall to life, has not seen as much progress as the departments of regulatory economic resources and water and sewer.

Nathan Kogon, assistant director for Miami-Dade County Department Services, told Miami Today that Triple Five Worldwide has not submitted the site plan or tentative plat.

The site plan provides a detailed building layout, the concept for each floor plan, and considers landscape as well as roadway networks. Each detail is taken into serious consideration, such as whether the number of trees displayed on the site plan matches the number on the proposal. The process can last up to six months and includes the period from when a draft is submitted to revisions, and when the final work is produced.

The preliminary plat is the following step Triple Five Worldwide must take after the final site plan approval is OK’d. The plat or legal descriptions of the necessary sewer lines, roadways and water management systems goes to the clerk of courts for approval.

Mr. Diaz de la Portilla said the site plan and temporary plat are not the focus at the moment. The site plan is on the agenda for 2020, a year closer to when his team nears the completion of the turnpike interchange in 2025, he said.

He said, “It makes no sense for us to move forward with the site plan six years before the build-out for a critical piece of infrastructure that needs to be in place before we open.”

Source: Miami Today