Panel urges Miami mega-mall be delayed over traffic concerns

Regional planning council says project will put too much strain on I-75


HIALEAH, Fla. – The American Dream Miami, a gigantic, $4 billion project for a retail and entertainment complex in unincorporated northwest Miami-Dade County, suffered a setback Wednesday after a South Florida panel recommended the project be delayed amid concerns over increased traffic.

The South Florida Regional Planning Council voted 5 to 4, finding the project was not in compliance because of the strain the mega-mall would put on an already congested Interstate 75. Council members were also concerned the mall could open before the needed infrastructure improvements were completed.

The mall is set to open on Black Friday 2023, but in the meantime, a new exit off I-75 and two state roads need to be constructed. Council members, including Broward County Commissioner Steve Geller, were skeptical that those projects would be done by November 2023.

However, the planning council also agreed to reconsider its recommendations at a special meeting so the mall's developers can defend their proposals.

The South Florida Regional Planning Council's findings are merely recommendations to the state. Florida officials could still decide the project should move forward as is.

The project was approved by the Miami-Dade County Commission in May.

The council decision on the mega-project was limited to traffic issues, Geller said. Other organizations have raised concerns about the project's impacts on the Florida Everglades.

Developers claim the project will create 14,000 permanent jobs and attract 30 million visitors. Opponents' concerns were centered on traffic, property value and cannibalizing jobs from other malls.