CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – There’s a major battle brewing over Matheson Hammock Park in Coral Gables where developers want to build a controversial 5-story boat warehouse.

According to Save Our Matheson Hammock Park, Miami-Dade County has awarded a private company the right to build the 62-thousand square foot warehouse.

Opponents, who include Bruce C. Matheson, grandson of the park’s namesake William Matheson and head of the family trust, say the project will increase noise pollution, cause traffic congestion on Old Cutler Road and damage the sensitive ecosystem.

A similar plan was rejected by the City of Coral Gables in 2009 but resurfaced when Marc Buoniconti and developer Aqua Marine Partners (AMP) presented warehouse designs to Coral Gables officials. The three chief backers of the development are Buoniconti, Coral Gables architect Richard Heisenbottle, and lobbyist Dusty Melton, according to the Miami New Times.

Save Our Matheson Hammock says the boat warehouse can’t be built without the approval of the City of Coral Gables. The group has organized an online petition in an effort to fight the construction.

  1. Questions and Answers says:

    Buoniconti must not have addressed the concerns very well since the backlash against this project is growing daily. He is missing the main point. It’s not how well they can disguise the building or how “green” they say they will make it….The issue is this park is supposed to be for people’s enjoyment of nature and wildlife….NOT for the convenient storage of boats. This is not a proper venue for a massive warehouse filled with fiberglass, fuel and oil . Mr. Girtman is absolutely correct….the building of this warehouse will not decrease those using the ramp one iota. They will have to ramp up the storage rates dramatically to make money. And believe me, these guys want to make money off of this. Which means bigger, louder and faster boats. Which also means additional noise, congestion and traffic in a sensitive environment. There are plenty of available slips in the city. They may not be 5 minutes away, but they are there. What is more important to have easily accessible for the people?….A potential fire hazard boat warehouse…or a pristine park with the wonders of nature that our children can enjoy for generations to come?
    If there is a problem answering this question from any city official, then yes…put this up for a citywide referendum.

    One more thing…isn’t the potential builder, Aquamarine Partners, the same group that went bust with their Passport Marine business a few years back and were sued owing 18 million dollars to the bank? Didn’t they just recently lose another marina that they overpaid for in Twin Rivers Florida?
    Also, Didn’t the promoters of this warehouse just get busted for illegal lobbying in Coral Gables? Just wondering.

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