MIAMI (CBSMiami) – SkyRise Miami, a giant observation tower and tourist attraction behind Bayside Marketplace, has been given the green light by Miami voters.

The public supported the 1,000-foot tower — coupled with a long-term lease extension for Bayside’s operator — by a roughly two-to-one margin. The vote gives developer Jeff Berkowitz approval to begin construction and triggers a $10 million upfront payment to the city of Miami.

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At a campaign party held in a private room at the Hard Rock Cafe at Bayside, Berkowitz declared victory upon the release of only early and absentee voting tallies, which favored the agreement by more than 70 percent, according to CBS4 News partner The Miami Herald.

SkyRise will have an observation decks, an upscale restaurant and a ballroom by the first half of 2018.

There are also plans for an amusement-park ride similar to the Tower of Terror that drops 50 stories along the tower’s shaft.

It will be the second tallest tower in the United States after the 1,148-foot Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas.

Berkowitz calls the $400-million project Miami’s Eiffel Tower.

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He says he’s investing some of his own millions, and seeking much of the financing from foreign investors through Miami’s new EB5 financing center, which swaps visas for local investment.

For General Growth Properties, the operator of Bayside, Tuesday’s results extend the terms of its lease with the city to 99 years and require GGP to make at least $27 million in renovations to the 1980s-era shopping center. The operator can also expand the marketplace at 401 Biscayne Blvd.

SkyRise is subletting land from Bayside. Under the agreement with the city, if Berkowitz fails to build the tower, GGP would get a shot. Otherwise, the market’s lease will be renegotiated.


(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)

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