There will soon be a new place for the ultra-wealthy to dock their boats in Miami with the recently completed marina in the controversial Island Gardens development. Plans for the Watson Island mixed-use project were awarded almost 14 years ago to Mehmet Bayraktar’s Flagstone Property Group, and it’s taken that long for the first phase to open.
“I think the most challenging thing was to do the marina because of the permitting process,” said Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado. He was one of the 50 lucky people to tour the site of the $1 billion development last week. “This has been an extraordinary effort and [Flagstone] has done it by the book,” he added.
The floating dock can accommodate up to 50 “super-yachts,” measuring up to 550 feet in length, according to a recent article from The Real Deal. The Island Gardens Deep Harbour Marina already has plans to host the Yachts Miami Beach boat show from February 11-15, as a second location, where they’ll feature 30-35 super-sized yachts.
Plans to break ground for the 221,000 square feet of retail and restaurants are set to begin in the fourth quarter, along with construction on two luxury hotels and a residential tower. In the meantime, Flagstone will work on creating a public green space that will include a promenade connecting the marina to the other buildings. According to Bayraktar, they are close to securing deals with potential hotel and retail tenants.
Developers of Island Gardens have run into their fair share of controversy since winning approval for the project on the publicly owned Watson Island in 2001. Financing was difficult to obtain after the attacks on 9/11 and then later with the 2008 market crash. In 2014, Flagstone teamed up with the Related Group on the project, only for the deal to fall apart after receiving “staunch opposition” from Miami Beach. And while a lawsuit filed by a group of residents on Venetian Islands is still pending, Bayraktar claims his project is going to produce an economic windfall for the city, county and state. Information provided by Flagstone states that the project will generate $98 million during the first three years of operation and more than $5 million a year in revenue sharing and parking surcharge income for the city of Miami. Island Gardens is expected to be completed in 2018.