…Commissioner Mark Samuelian, a member of the Ocean Drive Safety, Security and Infrastructure Subcommittee, said, “I think it’s prudent that we proceed… there will be a lot of opportunities to review it.”
Commissioner Mark Samuelian weighed in saying “I do have some sympathy on fairness. Directionally I’m comfortable with the policy and I can see the argument that many of our residents may not want a Walgreens there. But, as a point of fact, if Walgreens is gonna invest all this money to put it there, they must believe someone wants it there, that someone’s gonna be shopping in this environment and that there is a need. Maybe it’s not residents. It could be tourists or visitors. Either they’re making a really, really bad decision or some consumers see value in having it there.”
“The second thing I would say is really around fairness,” Samuelian continued. “I obviously trust our advisors and City Attorney on the legal side, so I’m not sure where that line is in terms of where you get to keep going [with plans]. My sense is we’re pretty close to it from a fairness standpoint.”
“We may not love the prospect of a standard Walgreens,” Samuelian said, “but If this doesn’t happen, are we going to have an empty storefront? What’s gonna happen? We talk about retail vacancies. This looks like it could go in, not sure of the timeframe. How quickly if they’re not allowed could a new deal be put [together]? When does something come in? What’s that process look like? Are we going to be here six months talking about more empty storefronts when there was a tenant who could have been there? So, I’m intrigued by Commissioner Arriola’s thought of looking at uses but, while I support the policy, I share Commissioner Alemán’s concerns around fairness for this one applicant.”
Miami Beach officials are already bracing for gridlock and phone calls from irate residents.
“We know this train is coming, no pun intended, we know it’s going to have a big impact,” said Commissioner Mark Samuelian, who sponsored a resolution at Wednesday’s City Commission meeting giving city staff the green light to evaluate several temporary traffic fixes while construction is underway.