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Feb. 15, 2013

Developers Ross and Perez Show Interest in Stalled Island Gardens Project

By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor 

According to the South Florida Business Journal, the company headed by Dolphins owner Stephen Ross—Related Cos., as well as Jorge Perez’s The Related Group, will assist Flagstone Properties in developing the long-stalled Watson Island project, Islands Gardens.

A joint statement released on Wednesday says that both companies are engaged in conversations with Flagstone Property Group about potentially partnering on the redevelopment of Watson Island. Yet the $800 million project will have to meet certain criteria and would include additional investment partners before the investment moves forward, the Business Journal reported.

Previously announced development plans state that Island Gardens will feature an ultra-luxury Shangri-La Hotel; a Residences Island Gardens-Miami, managed and serviced by Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts; a lifestyle hotel; 60 cutting edge and high-end retail boutiques; 18 waterfront restaurants, cafés and nightlife venues; world-class dining; a unique waterfront promenade; a fish market; leisure gardens; and a maritime gallery created in conjunction with the Historical Museum of Southern Florida.

Plans also call for a distinctive marina exclusively designed for mega-yachts. The super-yacht harbor is meant to establish Miami as an international destination on the same caliber as illustrious getaways in the Mediterranean and Caribbean.

Island Gardens was conceptualized by developer Mehmet Bayraktar and concept architect Eric Kuhne to utilize every aspect of Watson Island. Piero Lissoni, world-renowned interior designer and co-founder of Studio Lissoni, is designing the interiors of various components of the development. The project architect is Spillis Candela DMJM, one of the oldest and largest professional design firms in the southeastern United States.

Island Gardens was first approved by the city commission on July 8, 2004 and went before the county commission in September 2004 on the marina aspect of the proposal. Yet construction stalled, and developer Mehmet Bayraktar faced several lawsuits and financial problems. The ambitious project, considered to be one of the largest waterfront developments in the world, could open by 2016, according to Bayraktar.

Renderings via www.islandgardens.com