Flagstone Project on Watson Island Moving Ahead, City Says

Flagstone Development is in the process of finalizing agreements with equity partners and lining up financing for development of its $640 million Island Gardens project on Watson Island, the city of Miami reports. I had queried the city about the status of the long-awaited project on Friday after thinking that the light rail system I blogged about on Dec. 28 could make the project better connected to Miami Beach and the mainland. Watson Island is currently known as the home for the Jungle Island attraction and the Miami Children's Museum.

Island Gardens is envisioned as having a mega-yacht marina, resort fractional residences, restaurants and two hotels. A city website says it's a $400 million project while the Island Gardens website says $640 million.

The public may be skeptical about all of this until major construction work begins, given that a 2008 press release PDF said the project was scheduled for completion in 2011. ING Clarion Partners was listed as a partner then.

I haven't heard back from Flagler Development about my query, which isn't surprising given the holiday season, but Aldo Bustamante, Miami's real estate manager exchanged several emails with myself and real estate reporter Oscar Pedro Musibay, who asked some good follow-up questions.

Flagstone has until September to start construction of the marina portion of its project, Bustamante said. The developers are also seeking final approval on a waiver of deed restrictions from the state, which has given two thumbs up so far.

Flagstone has indicated it is "very close" to finalizing the equity and finance deals, Bustamante said.

"Flagstone is actually in a much better position than it was five years ago, they have settled all of their lawsuits and liens, and are up to date on all their payments to the city and are not under any defaults at this time," Bustamante said.

Flagstone has paid the city $1.19 million in rent from February 2010 to this December and also has $3 million in escrow and deposits, Bustamante said.

Flagstone has all the approvals for the marina, except for a city building permit, Bustamante said he believed.

Here are other key aspects of the Flagstone timeline as outlined by Bustamante:

• Oct. 1: Flagstone’s current monthly payment of $62,500 will increase to $1 million a year as it is schedule to start construction.
• Sept. 1, 2016: Flagstone must commence construction of the retail and parking component of its project.
• Sept. 1, 2018 Flagstone must commence construction of both hotels.
• Aug. 31, 2019: Retail and parking are scheduled to be finished. (Kevin Gale, Editor in Chief- South Florida Business Journal\http://www.bizjournals.com)
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07