There's a quiet, empty space just wasting away in North Miami, and it's been like that for years. But soon, it could become a one-of-a-kind tourist destination.
"When you go back and tell your friends, 'I was skiing in Miami,' it'll be right here at Solar Mountain," said proud pitchman Willis Howard, the Vice President of Solar Mountain Management Group.
Howard's company has plans to build a super-sized resort with the largest indoor ski slope in the world.
"Almost like a winter-wonderland," he said.
"Who would've thought of having a ski slope in the desert, but it actually works," said Howard. "A lot of folks down here, kids down here, haven't seen snow."
Solar Mountain would stretch from 151st Street and Biscayne to 143rd Street, almost 200 total acres. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, it would include surfing, a skate park, an arena, a hotel, and a tennis center among other activities. And it all becomes a reality if the city of North Miami approves the deal.
"I think we have a good relationship with the Mayor and City Council and I think they're eager to make something happen on this site," said Howard, who is Mayor Andre Pierre's former campaign manager.
This isn't the first grand idea for this large plot of land. It has a storied history and that's why North Miami City Commissioner Scott Galvin is a bit skeptical.
"All sorts of ideas have been floated, I just don't want this to be one of those extravagant ideas that doesn't have anything behind it," Galvin said.
Howard said the project isn't just a dream.
"We're not selling magic beans, we're actually putting our money where our mouth is," he said.
Solar Mountain Management says the project will use renewable energy and create more than 2,000 jobs. Their goal is to break ground in January 2011 and open for business as early as 2013.