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Community Leaders And Allies Unite Against Proposed $1B Magic City Special Area Plan in Little Haiti



March 27, 2019


Melissa Taveras


Rhenie Dalger


Community Leaders And Allies Unite Against Proposed $1B Magic City Special Area Plan in Little Haiti; Coalition Asks Simple Question “Who Benefits” From This Deal

WHO: Little Haiti community leaders, area residents and business owners, as well as allies from other neighborhoods

WHEN: Thursday, March 28th, 8:30AM

WHERE: City of Miami City Hall (3500 Pan American Drive, Miami, 33133)

Ahead of a crucial vote scheduled by the Miami City Commission on the $1 billion Magic City Special Area Plan, Little Haiti homeowners, business owners, and community leaders will host a press conference Thursday at Miami City Hall opposing approval of the deal.

Marleine Bastien, Executive Director of Family Action Network Movement (FANM) said “Magic City as currently structured cannot be the precedence for Miami’s future. Its proposed 25 story 9-acre mega-development with 10 liquor licenses is totally out of synch with our neighborhood. We are opposed to this project, and we ask the City of Miami Commission to respect its own rules stipulated in Miami 21 to reject displacement, gentrification, and over-development in Little Haiti.”

Joined by many supporters and allies, the coalition of homeowners, business owners, and community leaders will show how the massive Little Haiti plan will have an irreversible negative impact on the neighborhood’s residents and business. Together, they will call for a complete moratorium on all Special Area Plans (SAPs) in the City of Miami until residents can fully understand their impact on neighborhoods and businesses.

Media is encouraged to attend, as we will be addressing the following questions:

  • Why the total absence of on-sight affordable housing units in the 9-acre Magic City mega-development that will transform Little Haiti? How did developers get by this basic zoning requirement?

  • Why is Commissioner Keon Hardemon in a rush to approve entitlements for this $1 billion project and its associated $31 million side deal? Is it possible the Commissioner expects his family will benefit directly from that $31 million pot of money, the same way the Miami Herald recently revealed they had benefited from his stance on the Beckham soccer stadium megaproject and his moves to regulate billboards? Who benefits?

  • Does the city fully understand the devastating impact that gentrification dynamics supercharged by this project will have in Little Haiti’s humble but proud immigrant community? How will the city deal with the personal and communal tragedy of seeing the bulk of a neighborhood’s population displaced by spikes in housing costs? Who benefits?

  • Why are city leaders behaving differently towards neighborhood opposition to this development mega-deal than they did when a similar project was proposed less than half a mile away in a more affluent and whiter neighborhood? Why isn’t Mayor Francis Suarez taking a stance similar to what he took regarding the Legion Park SAP that was up for approval two years ago? Does the same official that defended the sanctity of community character when he was just a city commissioner believe -- now as mayor -- that Little Haiti is there for the taking? Who benefits?

  • Why isn’t the city waiting to hear back on the results of a recently funded $4 million study on climate gentrification before moving on this significant approval? Could it be there is a rush to have this project “baked in” before an official report reveals what Little Haiti residents have known for years -- that their community is at risk of being wiped out by wealthy speculators looking for higher ground in flood-prone Miami? Who benefits?

  • Why are commissioners in a rush to rubber-stamp a bait-and-switch community benefits package -- originally meant to include hundreds of units of affordable housing that would have truly benefited the community -- that will instead create an unaccountable slush fund for Keon Hardemon and his loyalists? Who benefits?

  • Why would any Commissioner vote to approve a back-room benefits package with last minute changes, questionable terms, a shady way of distributing funds to the community, and more than a whiff of likely corruption coming through? Who benefits?


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