September 11th, 2015 6:43 PM by Nour Ailan
Miami-Dade County will review plans for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and PortMiami to finance, design, build and operate a new cruise terminal as part of a public-private agreement.
Royal Caribbean is expected to invest more than $100 million during the construction phase of the project and PortMiami says it will invest "several million," according to documents submitted to the county for review. For the long-term, the deal would generate about $250 million for PortMiami.
The agreement — which will be voted on Wednesday — says Royal Caribbean will pay all costs of constructing the terminal and its accompanying facilities, and PortMiami says it will pay for environmental testing, any remediation, and maintaining the depth between the channel and the berth.
The development is expected to increase the cruise company's presence in Miami and make better use of an underutilized cargo space in the north-east quadrant of the port, which will become part of Royal Caribbean's new terminal.
Miami-based Royal Caribbean hosts about 730,000 cruisers at the port annually. But back in 2009, the company courted much more and averaged 1.6 million passengers annually. Miami lost a majority of the corporation's business when Royal Caribbean announced that Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, which are among the company's largest vessels, would be based at Port Everglades.
The master plan for the project will be submitted at a later date, and it's expected to include a new berth that could be used to host the company's largest ships, a parking garage and ancillary facilities.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. owns six cruise brands that operate a total of 44 ships, and aims to introduce eight ships by the end of 2020. The facility is expected to be complete by December 2018.