While Chamber South members and guests enjoyed chicken marsala at Carrabba’s Italian Grill during their recent monthly networking luncheon, guest speaker and County Commissioner, Joe Martinez, spoke to the attentive audience about his partnership with developer Donald Trump to build an 800 acre film studio on the former Homestead Air Force Base site.
“Six months ago I read in the paper that Donald Trump was buying Doral,” said Martinez. “So I gave him a call and pitched an idea I have had since I was a rookie commissioner back in 2001; to make Miami-Dade County a top movie studio destination.”
Trump took the call and invited Martinez and his wife Ana to dinner in Palm Beach where he presented the proposal to use land that has been abandoned for over 20 years since 1992’s Hurricane Andrew nearly decimated the base. “It is situated in the most depressed real estate market we have, in Homestead, with foreclosures every- where,” said Martinez. “This is good for everybody, not only for South Dade and for Miami-Dade but also for the state of Florida. We can bring good paying jobs here and it is a clean industry.”
Martinez originally presented the idea at the June 5 county commission meeting, complete with architectural renderings of sleek futuristic buildings and plotted aerial views of intended office space locations. According to Martinez, Trump has already made a substantial investment in the project. “The man has spent over $300,000, he’s serious, if this gets screwed up, it’s because we screwed it up,” said Martinez. “Las Vegas was a dream, everything that comes up is a dream but you have to have the vision to start.”
The plan is for a walk-in media center, hotels, with smaller lodging for film crew extended stays, 10,000 to 250,000 square feet of sound stages, and a possible partnership with adjacent school board land for an industry related academic center. Martinez is also hopeful that area universities like FIU might consider offering film production class programs.
Because Miami is already a destination spot for movies, television shows and photo shoots with a major connection to the Latin American market, he says it is a win-win situation.
Martinez said the unexaggerated projected numbers indicate the economy would benefit from $260,000 pumped into the local economy daily and a boon of 10,000 jobs to the area. The county would donate the land and Trump would pay for everything else.
When asked how his project would differ from City of Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff’s failed film studio he said, “Number one is the acreage. This is a full movie studio. Sarnoff’s was a building to film in and it was limited as to what you could film and who could be there.”
According to Martinez, the proposal is currently in the hands of attorneys who are settling a discrepancy on total acreage available.
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