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MIAMI-A review commission is backing the $281 million development project that Flagstone Properties is proposing for the southwestern tip of Watson Island.

All but one member of the 11-member, city-appointed commission voiced support for the project headed by Mehment Bayraktar, Flagstone chairman and chief executive officer, Sherwood Weiser, chairman of Miami-based Continental Companies , and Eric R. Kuhne of Miami-based Eric R. Kuhne & Associates. One commission member abstained from the vote.

The recommendation now faces an administrative review by City Manager Carlos Gimenez, who must submit his preferences in writing and forward them to the Miami City Commission for review at a Sept. 17 meeting.

If the commission adopts the recommendation at that meeting, the proposal will be scheduled as a public referendum item at the Nov. 6 general election.

Sources who witnessed the review process last week tell GlobeSt.com the commission favored the Flagstone proposal because of its financial return to the city.

The Flagstone group proposes the development of a 48-slip, five-gold star Anchor Facility; a 175-unit Wave Hotel operated by Conrad Hotels, with 50 time-share licensed suites; a 250-room Lighthouse Hotel operated by the Regent Group, with 50 time-share licensed suites; 84,012-sf of restaurant space; and a 10,629-sf open air fish market.

During the construction phase, Flagstone proposes annual rents of $1 million on a site that covers 1,100 linear feet of bay frontage, 10.8 acres of property 13.4 acres of submerged land.

Once fully developed, however, the development group is proposing annual rents of $2 million with annual increases of 3% or a prevailing factor based on the Consumer Price Index. After three years of operation, the development team would pay the city 1% of all gross revenue and 2.5% of fractional license unit sales.

In comparison, two other project proposals offered considerably less. Hollywood, FL-based Swerdlow Marine Partners offered annual rents of $200,000, with 10% annual increases in the base rent. As for revenue, the development team offered the city 20% of annual base tenant rents.

Miami-based Watson Island Partners offered rents of $250,000 for the first 3 years and $500,000, with 3.5% annual increases, as a base rent. As for revenue, the development team offered the city 1% fractional license unit sales, 1% from resort operations and 1% from marina operations.

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