Dream-Hotel Anchored Project On Miami River Wins Voter Approval

Driftwood’s Carlos Rodriguez Jr., MV Real Estate Holdings’ Alex Mantecon, and Dream Hotel’s Jay Stein (Driftwood Capital, MV Real Estate Holdings, Dream Hotel)

In a low turnout election, Miami voters approved a new 100-year lease for the developers of a proposed Dream Hotel-anchored mixed-use project on the Miami River.

MV Real Estate Holdings, led by Alex Mantecon and Guillermo Vadell, and its partner Driftwood Capital, led by Carlos Rodriguez Jr., can now proceed with their plans to transform a 1.5-acre city-owned site at 114 Southwest North River Drive that is currently home to restaurant and entertainment venue Wharf Miami.

The referendum’s approval — at 60 percent of 34,745 voters — allows the Miami City Commission to waive competitive bidding and negotiate the lease with MV and Driftwood.

The joint venture intends to build a $185 million mixed-use project anchored by a 165-key hotel under the Dream banner. Designed by John Cardello of Cube3 architects, the 200,000-square-foot development known as Riverside Wharf would also include 16,000 square feet of restaurants, a 12,000-square-foot event hall, a 30,000-square-foot nightclub and rooftop dayclub, and 600 feet of river frontage. Wharf Miami would be a tenant of the new complex.

In exchange for the new lease and development rights, MV and Driftwood agreed to increase the private investment minimum requirement to $30 million from $7 million, and pay 50 percent more rent than the city was supposed to receive in a previous development proposal approved by Miami voters in 2016.

The developers spent $311,000 in advertising, phone banks and other get-out-the-vote efforts, according to campaign finance reports. In the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s primary election, the Riverside Wharf political action committee flooded voters’ mailboxes with flyers promoting the project.

The mailers claimed Riverside Wharf will create 600 new jobs and that the project represents a “state-of-the-art sea level rise initiative for future generations.” The project faced minimal opposition heading into election day.

In 2016, voters had approved an agreement giving Riverside Wharf a 30-year lease with an option for two 10-year extensions. In exchange for building a 30,000-square-foot entertainment complex, MV agreed to pay a minimum of $195,000 in annual rent to the city, as well as spend at least $7 million on public land improvements, including a new riverwalk fronting the development.

The project, which never broke ground, required another referendum because MV and Driftwood dramatically changed the scope and size of the development that voters originally approved six years ago.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.