Miami Beach Mayoral candidate Steve Berke took umbridge with Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower and the Miami Beach City Commission at a press conference, Wednesday at the Dorset Hotel on Collins Avenue. Berke opposes the passing by the commission of a unanimous resolution opposing a Casino gambling bill now in the State Legislature.
His solution? A comprehensive proposal, complete with architectural renderings, for a new casino Hotel complex at the current Miami Beach Convention center location, dedicating revenues to property tax reduction.
“A casino hotel development at the site of the Miami Beach Convention center could generate $80 million dollars a year in local taxes, allowing Miami Beach to cut property taxes” said Berke. “It would generate approximately 2000 jobs and produce enough revenue to pay for the renovation of the Convention Center instead of imposing a new tax on tourists as Mayor Bower proposes.”
Berke’s proposal suggests 100,000 square feet of gaming space, 2000 slot machines and 150 table games, all of which would be legal if the bill SB 2050 now pending in the Florida legislature passes. Berke also proposed a 500 room hotel, a spa, retail stores and restaurants, as well as a high end night club at the casino/convention center site. “A casino of this size and quality could generate $750 million a year in gaming and non-gaming revenue,” said Berke. “An appropriate tax rate could generate as much as $80 million for the city. Additionally the casino and renovation of the convention center would bring world class conventions and trade shows to the city.”
“The Miami Convention Center is the logical place,” said Berke. “It has excellent access, plenty of parking nearby and is already owned by the city of Miami Beach. Instead of passing negative resolutions, Mayor Bower should be in Tallahassee lobbying for the passage of the casino bill now in both Houses.”
Berke, a professional comedian and Yale graduate is making his first bid for public office this November.
“I would propose the contract to build and operate the casino be put out to bid to find the best deal for the taxpayers. I think Donald Trump, Steve Wynn, the Las Vegas Sands, MGM, Caesars and others would have an interest.”