The Miami Herald has vacated its longtime headquarters on Biscayne Bay.
The newspaper has moved its operations to suburban Doral in western Miami-Dade County. Thursday was the last day that Herald employees worked at the downtown Miami building the Herald had occupied since 1963.
The Malaysia-based Genting Group bought the Herald's downtown property from the newspaper's parent company, McClatchy Co., in 2011 for $236 million. The company plans to demolish the 750,000-square-foot Herald building and build a luxury hotel in its place.
Genting also wants to build a casino at the 13.9-acre site, but the state has not approved those plans.
"We want to create something that's cool and going to draw people here," Bill Thompson, senior vice president of development for Resorts World Miami, told the Herald in March.
In addition to the hotel, Genting also plans to develop a nearby stretch of shops and to build a boardwalk along the bay that will connect pedestrians with new museums under construction a few blocks away.
The demolition of the Herald building may not begin for several months. Genting must first remove asbestos from the site.
It's unclear when Genting may be able to move forward with its gambling plans. Instead of considering a gambling expansion during this year's legislative session, the Florida Legislature commissioned a study to evaluate gaming options for the state.
Lawmakers also voted to outlaw so-called Internet cafes, which supporters celebrated as a crackdown on gambling in Florida. Gov. Rick Scott signed that bill in March.
Thompson said the Miami Herald's downtown property remained a good investment even without a casino.
"You start out with the waterfront property and that improves the value across everything else," said Thompson. "Then you stay fluid based on what's happening in the marketplace."
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