The developer of SkyRise Miami has given up on the project.
Jeff Berkowitz told the Herald that he abandoned plans to build the entertainment tower in 2020 after he was unable to secure financing for it.
Now, the owner of Bayside is required to find another developer for the tower or try to develop another project on the land, as part of a deal with the city.
Bayside Marketplace’s owner now appears to be the biggest winner from the SkyRise proposal. Bayside was granted an extensionon its lease of prime bayfront land at a rate that is well below market value as part of the deal.
Bayside’s lease was originally set to expire in 2030 with two 15 year extensions.
The city extended Bayside’s lease 30 years to 2060 in order to obtain the land for SkyRise. They also granted two additional extension options to Bayside (there are now four in total), totaling another 53 years.
Bayside appears to have two options under the terms of the lease: find another developer for SkyRise, or restore the site and remove anything that has been built. A statement from Berkowitz implies that the site will be restored.
If Bayside is going with the second option and restoring the site, they are still required “to use
commercially reasonable efforts to develop a proposal for a new development project on the pier in conjunction with the city.”
The deal negotiated by the city appears to allow Bayside to keep the extension regardless of what happens.
Here is a statement released by Berkowitz to the Herald:
We moved heaven and earth during almost 10 years of challenges, obstacles, and adversity. Despite everything we have endured and overcome, it is clear that given the unprecedented challenges presented by Covid-19 to the tourism, hospitality, and entertainment industries, I have no alternative but to cease construction and to abandon our efforts to build this project.
It was an enormously challenging and ambitious project, particularly for an individual. We, as a team, have spent thousands of hours planning and designing the overall SkyRise experience with some of the world’s top designers, attraction manufacturers, architects and experiential “imagineers” doing our best to make it epic, unique, successful and the symbol of the new Miami.
I started demolition of the site and constructed a brand-new pier, with upgraded utilities, for the City of Miami’s MiaMarina, something that will continue to benefit our community for years to come. I have spent very substantial sums in pursuit of this iconic project. I have not, nor will I, draw upon the millions of dollars of commitments made by some of Miami’s most respected community leaders, who shared my vision and were willing to co-invest in the project.
The project was abandoned in 2020, when it became obvious that the search for financing was futile. In 2021, we have been focused on our continuing obligation to plan, permit and restore the site to its original condition as a parking lot.