Whose Money Is It? Discussion Continues Over Mana Wynwood Project And $7 Million In Public Benefits

Sep 1, 2016

Negotiations for a long-planned development in Miami continued Wednesday, as representatives of the Mana Wynwood team met with members of the Wynwood Business Improvement District. The development would occupy as much as 24 acres and include art galleries, a new fire station, residences and a public open space called the Wynwood Commons.

But Wynwood leaders are concerned that recent changes to the plan would decrease the total amount of public benefits dollars their neighborhood would receive. Specifically, seven million dollars from the developer originally allocated to Wynwood would now go to the Southeast Overtown Park West Community Redevelopment Agency.

"We’re just asking them to stand by the original agreement," said David Polinsky, a member of the Wynwood Business Improvement District's Board. "We’ve already said that we approve of it in that form."

Mana Wynwood representatives said city of Miami officials asked them to change how the money is being allocated. In addition to the $7 million going to the Overtown agency, Wynwood will receive $3 million. Originally, Wynwood was to receive all $10 million in public benefits dollars.

"From our perspective, our public benefits package is the same," said Iris Escarra, a lawyer representing Mana Wynwood. "However, the policymakers have determined that money should be going to different areas."

Escarra says Mana Wynwood will have a second reading of their plan before the city commission next Thursday, with or without official support from the Wynwood business improvement district. In the meantime, both sides say they’ll continue to negotiate.