Genting's Resorts World Miami Gets Criticized: Florida Should Not Bite the Foreign Hand That Is Feeding Miami's Economic Recovery
Genting Malaysia has closed many of its land deals and debuted its plan for Resorts World Miami, a new $3 billion mega-resort located in downtown Miami (part of it in the old Miami Herald building, part in the Omni) with news that it's moving fast: Genting developers see doors opening as soon as next year for the hotels, condos, restaurants and other amenities.
We're already posted about Resorts World Miami and what it means to Miami. It offers a unique opportunity for South Florida's renewal, and signals economic recovery - even a new prosperity for our community.
After all, Genting won't be a development in a vacuum: other symbiotic and even parasitic developments will be popping up around Resorts World Miami. That's a given. (To check out the details surrounding Resorts World Miami, check out Genting's new website on the planned development.)
So, it's no surprise that some would be concerned at all this fierce activity. Lots of things will be happening now, and fast.
Miami Powers that Be are justifiably concerned about how Genting's new economic bombshell - as well as the expected additional developments - will work with what is already here: particularly, the cultural arts facilities that exist in the area. So much so that the non-profit entity The Town Square Neighborhood Development Corporation is now focusing its efforts on working out the infrastructure kinks (traffic, parking, etc.) that Genting's bringing to the party. Adrienne Arsht Center's Michael Eidson and Parker Thomson are involved here, along with developer Armando Codina and architect Cesar Pelli.
Cautiously, and rightfully so, they're turning a watchful eye on Resorts World Miami. Their hope: another Lincoln Center, but this one in Miami not NYC.
It's too bad that some in Miami haven't been so gracious to Genting.
Others are not so welcoming. Luther Campbell in the Miami New Times comes right out and challenges the new development in an opinion piece entitled, "Genting casino will kill Miami and Miami Beach." Campbell argues that Genting will keep its visitors on Genting property - that tourists who come will be lured to stay (and spend) only on Genting property, and that Miami Beach and other nearby restaurants and attractions will not only not benefit, but also suffer by having their tourist base drawn to the Genting project. He also argues that the jobs Genting brings are all low paying service jobs, because the casinos will be operated by experienced employees Genting imports from other states, with experience running gambling tables.
It just does not make sense. A project like Genting's will bring all kinds of jobs - from construction jobs, to development jobs, to service jobs, to jobs for those who will run the hotels, restaurants, and retail establishments. There is, by the way, no downside to bringing lots of service jobs to Florida - we need the jobs. Plus, it is hard to believe that tourists who come to Genting won't also be drawn to our beaches, to the Everglades, and to the many nearby attractions that make Miami a world class city. We are all likely to benefit.
The Miami Herald published a piece on Tuesday by Michael Putney, "Genting deals winning hand for Miami," where, after researching the specifics of the deal and Genting's background, including that of its CEO, Mr.. K.T. Lim, Putney ultimately supports the project (even though there are some comparisons in the article to con men and Ponzi scammers like Scott Rothstein and David Paul).
What brought trust to Putney? First, that Genting has already invested so many hundreds of millions of dollars here already, just to buy land. (The Miami Herald spot for $236 million, for example.) Second, that Genting's been hiring locally, getting Floridians to do their work here - Putney points out that Arquitectonica is doing sculptural design.
Third, Genting's got a track record of success with this sort of thing. Resorts World Miami isn't Genting's first rodeo. They've got successful examples of similar types of developments all over the world.
Is It Wise to Already Be Biting the Investor's Hand That Is Feeding Our Economic Recovery?
Genting is well aware that it may be single-handedly instituting a local recovery here and still, its plans and behavior have been gracious and considerate of local interests.
Billions of dollars are coming into Miami. Now. Infrastructure concerns? Of course. Water, electricity, traffic, roads, parking. Wow - lots of work. And work means jobs. Jobs. Right now, as well as later.