A plan announced in late spring that would transform North Miami's Biscayne Landing into an indoor winter wonderland has gone all the way downhill and crashed.
The Miami Herald is reporting that Solar Mountain, the leading bidder to acquire the note from Wells Fargo on the 193-acre site off Northeast 151st St. and Biscayne Blvd., did not close on its winning $30 million bid. Solar Mountain's bid was controversial from the start as some residents and city council members questioned the depth of the bidder's pockets and its connections to the mayor.
The site, on a landfill at water's edge, is where a failed condominium project sits virtually empty. The Solar Mountain group, instead of building more lonely condos, wanted to bring skiing, ice skating, and winter-themed entertainment to the sunny Florida waterfront. The ski slopes were to be 10 stories taller than the buildings near it. Target date for opening was 2013.
The Solar Mountain concept was to be very similar to Ski Dubai, the granddaddy of the world's indoor winter palaces in the Middle East, except the Miami version would be solar and wind powered.
Indoor ski centers have been gaining in popularity in recent years. The success of Ski Dubai spurred development of some 23 other indoor ski "mountains" in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Finland, and The Netherlands. Others are on drawing boards or under construction.
The news is a bit murkier farther north. An on-and-off-again, stalled indoor ski dome in East Rutherford, N.J. in the New York Metropolitan area, looked good for a while, but now remains a question mark in terms of funding. The completed 250,000-square foot ski slope would be part of a new entertainment and sports district at the Meadowlands. Latest projections called for a 2011 opening. However, the Wall Street Journal reported Aug. 6, 2010 that a group of investors led by Colony Capital may pass on the high-profile project to creditors.
Perhaps a blogger writing to the Miami Herald's Web site put it in perspective: "Hello... there already is a winter playground accessible to Floridians. It is called Colorado."