Approval of Miami Worldcenter Met With Opposition

Miami Worldcenter, the huge urban development project set to transform part of Downtown Miami, is getting the thumbs up from Miami-Dade County Commissioners.

But, the project isn't being met with approval from some neighbors.

People opposed to one of Miami's largest ever planned construction projects turned their backs in protest on Tuesday, and were asked to leave the meeting.

They then rallied for their cause outside.

The Miami Worldcenter will be a massive development. Ten blocks of shops, restaurants and residential units, transforming a huge blighted portion that butts up to Miami's Overtown neighborhood. 

Advocates want to make sure residents aren't pushed out.

"Empirical evidence will show you that once something like this is built, that means the environment is going to shift so much that the people who once lived there are no longer going to be invited or welcomed there," said Umi Selah with Dream Defenders.

Activist Selah also wants jobs for Overtown residents.

County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said an agreement in writing, with the developer, addresses that issue, "We will be training people in Overtown to be in position to apply for and be eligible for the jobs that are created by that development."

County commissioners considered a controversial item giving the developer authority to tax its clients, like merchants and restaurant owners, for the purpose of creating and improving the infrastructure.

But the crux of the controversy is beautification resulting in gentrification.

Nitin Motwani is the developer, "We have gone above and beyond because we care about this community. This is personal to us. Everyone keeps saying it is not personal. It is personal and we appreciate the outpouring of support that stands behind me that has continued to stand behind me."

Construction on the project is expected to take two to three years with phase one opening in fall of 2017.

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