Miami debates huge casino project

Oct. 27, 2011 at 4:24 PM
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MIAMI, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- A proposed casino resort planned for Miami, potentially the largest in the world, could create jobs or squash them, interested parties say.

"When you look at the enormous size and scope of some of these projects, it just doesn't make sense. We're most concerned about existing businesses," said Phil Goldfarb, president of Fontainebleau Miami Beach.

Resorts World Miami, the resort in question, proposed by Genting Malaysia Berhad, could kill jobs by pulling customers from existing hotels and restaurants or it could be a boon, creating permanent jobs plus tens of thousands of construction jobs, The Miami Herald reported Thursday.

"It's not a box where you simply put a casino. It's tied in and integrated to the rest of community," said economist Tony Vallamil, who works for Genting.

Restaurant owner Esteban Garcia, proprietor of Garcia's Seafood Grille and Fish Market, said, "This kind of resort would bring in a lot of new jobs."

Garcia would benefit directly, as he stands to open a second restaurant at the casino.

The proposal calls for a $3.8 billion resort with 5,200 rooms and 50 restaurants. It would have six towers 58 stories high, artificial beaches and an outdoor lagoon.

The plan calls for two gambling spaces. One would be 550,000 square feet – the primary casino – and the other would be 250,000 square feet.

By comparison, the gambling spaces at the Bellagio, the Mandalay Bay and the MGM Grand in Las Vegas do not equal that square footage, the Herald said.

The project is not the only enormous resort planned for Miami. A second project put together by Las Vegas Sands and local developers is reportedly in the works. The size of hotel-casino resort could rival the Genting project, the newspaper said.

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