Walgreens Caught Between Plans and New Ordinance That Would Prohibit Them

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.”

March 23, 2019 | RE: Miami Beach | Walgreens Caught Between Plans and New Ordinance That Would Prohibit Them

Ribbon Cutting for Almost Complete Convention Center

It’s about 97 percent complete, but Miami Beach celebrated its new Convention Center with a ribbon cutting and the opening of the Art Basel Miami Beach art fair.

Art Basel was one of the key considerations in an unusual construction schedule which included points where the building was opened up for a limited schedule of small events and then cleared completely for the annual December art fair while creating the illusion (as best as possible) that the building was not actually in various states of completion.

December 8, 2018 | RE: Miami Beach | Ribbon Cutting for Almost Complete Convention Center

Convention hotel and a $439M upgrade for Miami Beach? Voters will decide in November

At a MidBeach Neighborhood Association meeting in September, Commissioner Mark Samuelian said the city needs the bonds because it has “a lot of pent-up needs.”

“While we have had sufficient funding to operate the basics of the city, for these type of projects, capital projects, park projects, public safety projects, beachwalk projects, we have not sufficiently funded them,” Samuelian said. “At the end of the day, this is about an investment in the community.”

September 15, 2018 | Miami Herald | Convention hotel and a $439M upgrade for Miami Beach? Voters will decide in November

Fate of City National Bank project uncertain

Commissioner Mark Samuelian said, after reading the Staff memo, “In my 8 months here, this is one of the strongest recommendations I’ve seen in terms of not to proceed” and he asked City Manager Jimmy Morales why.

Samuelian said, “I’m concerned about the terms changing… I strongly support the goal of revitalizing Town Center. I’d like to get the stimulus that I want but I don’t think we’re there and I’m of the mind now to think about if we’re going to plow millions of dollars in, how might we do it in a better way? Are there options at this point? We spent a year and a half … are there options or other things we could do is the question on my mind at this point.”

Samuelian said, “Candidly, I would be of the mind today to be entertaining options. I honestly would.”

He elaborated. “Maybe we should just think about selling the lots. Have we done the due diligence of other things to do because I’m sensitive to the time and given my colleagues comments about how far apart we are, I’m just wondering about that.”

August 4, 2018 | RE: Miami Beach | Fate of City National Bank project uncertain

Agreement reached on 44-story tower for 500 Alton Road

When Commissioner Mark Samuelian proposed continuing the dialogue over the August recess and having another Finance Committee meeting to review the details of the deal, Galbut said he would take the Baywalk contribution off the table. He was looking for a unanimous vote of the Committee but said he was willing to take a 2-1 vote to move the item onto the Commission agenda in September.

Samuelian said, “I understand we want to move expeditiously but, on the record, this property’s been like this for 13 years… I don’t think an extra meeting would be a problem; in fact I think it would help the deal” saying he wanted “to get it right.”

Following another brief recess, Samuelian was willing to accept the redlined agreement and voted with Arriola and Commissioner John Alemán to instruct the Administration to draft a development agreement that allowed for the vacation of 6th Street and other ordinance changes to send to the Commission for first reading in September.

July 28, 2018 | RE: Miami Beach | Agreement reached on 44-story tower for 500 Alton Road