Voters pick Florida International University expansion over Miami-Dade County Fair & Expo

65 percent of Miami-Dade County residents make way for FIU expansion

MIAMI – Miami-Dade County residents have voted in favor of moving the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition to make way for an expansion of Florida International University.

Sixty-five percent of voters were in favor of the measure, while 35 percent of voters were against the move.

Robert Hohenstein, president and chief executive officer of the fair, released a statement shortly after the results were announced.

"We congratulate FIU on the approval of an exemption from the Chapter 7 restrictions of the Miami-Dade County Charter," Hohenstein said.  "This issue is of great importance to FIU, since it removes a legal obstacle to its planned expansion."

Hohenstein said his efforts concentrate on planning a "magnificent" 2015 youth fair and future youth fairs for many, many years to come. They fair executive said he was also concerned about the success of ther fair exposition business.

The fair had been held at Tamiami Park for more than 40 years.

Expanding to the fairgrounds, some argued, would provide educational access to many more in South Florida. The university plans to build $900 million in student housing, parking and research facilities.

"This could take three, four more years, but this was the very important step," FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg told Local 10 News. "Because if we couldn't move into the land that they were occupying, then there was nothing left to talk about. Clearly, we've got to have a conversation about alternative sites and a serious conversation about the cost, but we're very confident that with this strong mandate there's a support for us to move forward."

Hohenstein said the referendum was premature because a new site hasn't been decided.

Fair officials were considering three options: what they call the Beacon property near Interstate 75 and Florida's Turnpike, some plots of land near Sun Life Stadium and a site in Homestead.

If they go with the latter, fair officials said attendance would drop up to 50 percent. FIU would have pay for the move.

Hohenstein said the move would cost $230 million, but FIU thinks it can be done for less.

FIU officials think they could do it for less.

Miami-Dade Charter Amendment - FIU Expansion

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