MIAMI - It's been just over a year since the Miami Herald moved out of its old building along Biscayne Bay. The building was sold to the Genting Group, yet there is still a holdup in its demolition.
Workers took months to gut the building's interior because of tedious asbestos removal, and now frayed electrical wires that dangle from the crumpled concrete make the building a waterfront eyesore.
A Miami Herald photographer captured the explosion that marked the start of demolition last April, which sent plumes of dust billowing across Biscayne Bay. And that dust sparked alarm at City Hall.
"I don't think that they had started to go about the process properly, and I don't think they had started demolishing effectively, and it created a lot of dust," said Commissioner Marc Sarnoff.
Sarnoff told Local 10 News the city's building department put a temporary halt to the contractor's plan because of concerns about dust and structural issues.
"I don't think it is Genting taking its time," said Sarnoff. "I think it is a much tougher building to take down than anyone really imagined."
Genting once had plans to build a luxury destination casino resort, but state lawmakers haven't allowed the kind of gambling to make that happen. Despite intense lobbying, a scaled-down version is now in the works, which may involve soccer superstar David Beckham.
"I've invited Beckham to have a discussion with them because if you wanted to create a downtown stadium, that is a place where you can accomplish that," said Sarnoff.
Sarnoff said the plan to unite the Genting Group with Beckham's proposed Major League Soccer stadium has been in the works for two months and that Beckham has met with Genting executives at least twice in New York.
A Genting representative wasn't immediately aware of any exploratory meetings but said current plans for the site involve a mixed-use project to include a 500-room hotel, two luxury condos and a variety of high-end retail shops and restaurants.
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