University of Miami Sells Endangered Forest Land to Developer with Strip Mall Plans
"One of the world’s rarest forests, a section of Miami-Dade County’s last intact tracts of endangered pine rockland, is getting a new resident: a Walmart," reports Jenny Staletovich.
"About 88 acres of rockland, a globally imperiled habitat containing a menagerie of plants, animals and insects found no place else, was sold this month by the University of Miami to a Palm Beach County developer. To secure permission for the 158,000-square-foot box store, plus an LA Fitness center, Chik-fil-A and Chili’s restaurants and about 900 apartments, the university and the developer, Ram, agreed to set aside 40 acres for a preserve."
"[The developer] Ram, which has built dozens of strip shopping centers and dense residential projects across Florida and the Southeast, chose the land at Coral Reef Drive and Southwest 127th Avenue because it provided a “unique chance to create . . . a place where people can easily walk from the neighborhood to shops and elsewhere,” CEO Casey Cummings said in a written response to questions."