Daily Archives: December 21, 2011

Nevada – Sad Truth About the State of a Gambling Economy ?

Nevada has been recently ranked No. 1 in “unemployment, foreclosures, violent crime, personal bankruptcy and divorce.”
Florida Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, December 8th, 2011 in a news article

Nevada is No. 1 in unemployment, divorce and violent crime, Florida chamber claims
As the January 2012 state legislative session draws near, supporters and opponents are organizing to make their voices heard about a proposed bill that would allow three massive casino resorts in South Florida.

On Dec. 8, 2011, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam — both Republicans — held a press conference with opponents to publicly denounce the gambling bill.

In an article about that press conference posted on WTSP 10 News, a Tampa Bay station, Mark Wilson, the CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, piped up about his opposition, too.

The report paraphrased Wilson as saying that the casinos would take money away from existing businesses and lead to other problems. He

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pointed to the state of Nevada, where gambling is prevalent, as an example.

Nevada, he said, “can keep their recent No. 1 rankings in unemployment, foreclosures, violent crime, personal bankruptcy and divorce. They can keep their No. 1 rankings.”

For this fact-check, we won’t begin to address whether gambling is to blame for the statistics Wilson cited. We are examining whether he had them correct.

Wilson’s spokeswoman, Edie Ousley, said that the unemployment and foreclosure data came from 2011 data, that the personal bankruptcy statistic was from 2010 and the violent crime and divorce data was from 2009. She sent us a document from CQ Press that pulled numbers from many sources including the census, Small Business Administration, FBI and administrative office of the U.S. courts. Katy Sorenson, a former Miami-Dade County Commissioner who is now the CEO of The Good Government Initiative at the University of Miami, also cited similar statistics attributed to the Congressional District Ranking Book in a guest editorial in the Miami Herald Dec. 10.

We will use CQ’s research as well as our own to look at each category cited by Wilson:

Unemployment: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in October 2011 unemployment in Nevada was 13.4 percent — the highest state (the list includes Puerto Rico at 16.1 percent but Puerto Rico is a territory not a state).

Foreclosures: RealtyTrac shows a map of foreclosures nationwide as of October 2011 which shows for Nevada one home in every 180 is in foreclosure — the highest in the country in terms of the ratio. (Nevada isn’t the highest in sheer numbers — there are more foreclosures in more populous states such as California and Florida.)

Violent crime: The FBI’s 2010 statistics show 17,841 violent crimes (murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery

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and aggravated assault) in the state of Nevada, for a rate of 660.6 per 100,000 occupants. Nevada’s rate was the second highest in the country behind the District of Columbia, which had a rate of 1,330.2. (Nevada wasn’t the second highest in sheer number of crimes because some states with larger populations, for example New York and California, had higher numbers of total violent crimes.) Since the chamber said Wilson was referring to 2009, we looked at the FBI’s violent crime report for 2009, too, and found again the District of Columbia at No. 1 at 1345.9 and Nevada’s rate at 702.2. The District of Columbia isn’t a state so we think it’s fair here to say Nevada had the highest crime rate amongst the states.

Personal bankruptcy: Using data collected from U.S. Bankruptcy Courts during a 12-month period ending in September 2010, Nevada ranked No. 1 in terms of the personal bankruptcy rate. The state had 1,121 nonbusiness bankruptcies per 100,000 population. We found bankruptcy statistics for the 12-month period ending in September 2011, but it showed the number of bankruptcy cases — not the rate.

Divorce: CQ used 2009 data from the National Center for Health Statistics, which found that Nevada had the highest divorce rate among states reporting (6.7 per 1,000 population). We corroborated the data through the National Center.

However, six states did not collect the information for 2009. Center spokesman Jeffrey Lancashire said the group no longer collects detailed divorce data because not all the states collect the information.

“The exact reasons vary from state to state, but likely it is budget-related,” he said in an e-mail. “But when a state like California doesn’t collect the information, it is real problematic to produce good national data.”

The census also measures marital status rates for each state. The census shows that Nevada had a divorce rate of 12.3 percent for males and 14.6 percent for females between 2005 and 2007. According to the census, Wyoming had a slightly higher rate of divorced males — 12.6 percent — but Nevada was No. 1 for divorced females.

Another product created by the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2010 American Community Survey showed that Nevada had a 12.4 percent divorce rate for women — placing it in a tie for 9th place with Tennessee — and a 14 percent divorce rate for men — ranking it first.

Which divorce statistic should we give most weight?

Robert Bernstein, a spokesman with the census, suggested that we use the National Center for Health Statistics data because that represents the official divorce rates and is based on vital statistics while the American Community Survey data are based on responses by survey respondents. That puts Wilson on solid footing.

Our ruling

Mark Wilson, the CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, said that Nevada has been recently ranked No. 1 in unemployment, foreclosures, violent crime, personal bankruptcy and divorce. The state of Nevada is clearly No. 1 in its unemployment and foreclosure rate — and it’s the highest for violent crime, too, if we omit the District of Columbia, which isn’t a state. CQ’s analysis shows Nevada at the top spot for personal bankruptcy. The statistics on divorce are somewhat more complicated but one recent source, the National Center for Health Statistics, concluded Nevada’s overall divorce rate was the highest in the country in 2009 among the states for which such data was available.

We rate this statement True.

Gambling’s Sands Gains Obscene Profits from Losers – in US and Asia

Las Vegas Sands’ revenue potential boggling

http://www.lvrj.com/business/lv-sands-revenue-potential-boggling-135818573.html

Posted: Dec. 18, 2011 | 2:00 a.m.

Imagine a single casino company collecting nearly $11 billion in annual revenues by the end of next year.
And that includes accounting for a possible slowdown in one of its major gaming markets.
Janney Montgomery Scott gaming analyst Brian McGill downgraded shares of Las Vegas Sands Corp. from “buy” to “neutral” earlier this month. He told investors that revenues from the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore could be slightly lower in the fourth quarter compared with the company’s previous two reporting periods.
He is also concerned that Macau’s December numbers could be a tad below what many expect the market to produce, which could cut into results from Las Vegas Sands’ three casinos in the Chinese special administrative region.
These are just short-term worries.
When 2012 is in the books, McGill expects Las Vegas Sands to be reporting revenues of more than $10.9 billion.
Let’s put this figure into perspective.
In 2010, Nevada’s entire casino industry collected $10.4 billion in gaming revenues. Through October, gaming revenues are up in the Silver State by 2.5 percent. Las Vegas Sands, in 2010, had revenues of $6.85 billion. McGill estimates the company will report $9.2 billion in revenues for 2011.
What he might construe as a slightly-off quarter for Las Vegas Sands would be considered a monster year for some casino operators.
In the spring, the company will start opening 6,000 hotel rooms as part of its Cotai Central resort complex in Macau, which will include hotels operating under the Sheraton, Holiday Inn and Conrad brands but centered around the casinos operated by Las Vegas Sands. The project is expected to give the company an even larger cut of Macau’s now-$30 billion-a-year gaming market.
“Las Vegas Sands should also benefit from taking share in VIP gaming at existing properties in Macau, as it looks to add junkets and refurbish VIP rooms, which should be more appealing to players,” McGill told investors.
It’s possible the $3.88 billion he is projecting for Las Vegas Sands’ overall cash flow in 2012 could be even larger.
“(It’s) something we will monitor,” he said.
The key driver for Las Vegas Sands is Singapore.
The island-nation approved just two casinos as part of a general plan to increase tourism.
Gaming is supposed to be a small portion of the entire integrated resort.
As such, the largest part of Resorts World Sentosa is a Universal Studios theme park. The Marina Bay Sands has a relatively average-sized 165,000-square-foot casino, along with more than 1 million square-feet of retail and 1.2 million square-feet of convention and meeting space.
Singapore’s tourism figures grew by 20 percent in 2010 but no one anticipated the gaming element.
In a research report this month, Citigroup said the combined gaming revenues from Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands could top $6.9 billion next year, easily surpassing the Strip, which had $5.8 billion in gaming revenues in 2010.
The Singapore government has tried to slow gaming, ordering casinos to charge entrance fees for local residents and to limit promotions. Singapore is capped at two casinos until 2017.
McGill thought Las Vegas Sands’ total revenues from Singapore would top $3.3 billion in 2012, an astonishing figure that would be more than double what he expects the company to collect from The Venetian and Palazzo on the Strip.
Additional growth in Asia is not off Las Vegas Sands’ radar.
Company Chairman Sheldon Adelson recently visited Japan and Vietnam for potential gaming opportunities. Japan, which saw its economy ravaged by an earthquake and tsunami earlier this year, is reconsidering its ban on gaming as it looks for ways to boost tourism.
A Japanese economics professor predicted Japan could become a $44 billion-a-year gaming market.
McGill said Las Vegas Sands, based on its track record, is considered a favorite in any emerging gaming market, including Japan. Las Vegas Sands is one of several operators taking a hard look at the potential for casinos in South Florida.
The company is also looking at replicating its Cotai Strip development in Spain.
“These all represent potential value to the company, but right now we find it difficult to handicap the odds enough to assign a value to the stock,” McGill said. “Many of these potential markets have been talked about for a long time and have never come to fruition.”

Internet Cafes Vanishing in Hillsborough. Hey, Couldn’t We Also Have Enforcement ?

Internet cafes vanish from Hillsborough landscape

By CHRISTIAN M. WADE | The Tampa Tribune
Published: December 19, 2011

http://www2.tbo.com/news/community-news/2011/dec/19/internet-cafes-vanish-from-hillsborough-landscape-ar-336245/

NORTHDALE —
It was one of

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several businesses in the Northdale Shoppes plaza, a strip mall in this northwest Hillsborough County enclave of subdivisions and retail outlets.
Other plaza tenants say the man who rented the small storefront spent thousands of dollars on the property – located among a tanning salon, a neighborhood pharmacy and a yogurt shop – installing computers, leather chairs, a kitchenette and other amenities.
Then, about six months after opening, the Tampa Internet Entertainment Sweepstakes Cafe closed down.
As quickly as they

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appeared, the Internet sweepstakes cafes that flocked to Hillsborough after other counties outlawed them are disappearing from the local landscape. Some, like the one that occupied a spot in the Northdale plaza, were shuttered days after a Dec. 7 county commission vote to ban what they called “simulated gambling devices.”
“That’s how these guys operate,” Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Larry McKinnon said of the Internet café owners. “If they know heavy enforcement is coming, they just pack up and go somewhere else. And it’s usually just across the county line.”
Hillsborough sheriff’s investigators, who are visiting the cafes to inform owners of the ban, are finding many of the 30 or so outlets in the county already are closed.
McKinnon said that’s what happened when Pinellas County voted to ban the cafes.
“We started seeing them popping up like mushrooms all over the county,” he said.
Tenants said they knew little about the man who ran the Internet café at Northdale Shoppes. But they say he spent a lot of money setting it up and didn’t seem to get a lot of business.
“I never saw anyone going into that place,” said Silvia Clarke, owner of Britan’s Yogurt Mill, who has been a tenant in the plaza for nearly a decade. “It was very strange.”

* * * * *
The café was open 24-hours, served food and drinks and catered mostly to seniors.
Attempts to reach the owner were unsuccessful. A man who answered the door at the business on Friday said the owner was a real estate agent, but didn’t know how to reach him. The man, who wouldn’t give his name, said he was helping the owner move out.
Dozens of other sweepstakes cafes, including several along Hillsborough Avenue, also have closed their doors within the past week, following approval of the countywide ban.
Alan Petzold had operated a café near Hillsborough Avenue and Racetrack Road with a business partner and planned to open another one, before the ban was approved.
He said the county’s crackdown on the cafes is hurting small business owners.
“We’re not getting rich doing this,” Petzold said. “They’re just putting people out of work.”
He said he knows of a few café operators – particularly those financed by corporations with deep-pockets – who are digging in their heels for an expected legal challenge.
“They’re going to fight to stay open,” Petzold said. “Honestly, I don’t blame them.”

* * * * *
Similar moves by Pinellas, Seminole and other Florida counties to ban the games have been challenged in court and Hillsborough officials are bracing for possible legal action.
“We haven’t seen any litigation yet, but we have been told that it’s forthcoming,” said Chris Brown, an attorney representing the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office.
Justin Kaplan, a Miami-based attorney, represents Arcola Systems, which makes software and hardware used in cyber cafes including several in Hillsborough.
He said many café operators are worried about being treated like criminals.
“They’re shutting down because they’re afraid of getting raided,” he said. “These are mostly independent mom-and-pop operations that are being driven out of business.”

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Casinos, race tracks and other gambling establishments in Florida must adhere to strict regulations, but the Internet sweepstakes cafes operate beneath the radar of regulators.
The legality of the cafes is in dispute throughout the state because state law is vague on what constitutes a slot machine. Operators of the cafes say they are offering a chance at cash prizes to customers who buy Internet time. Though the players see a slot machine on their computer screen, the winning number is predetermined, supporters say, much like a scratch-off ticket used as a promotion at fast food and retail outlets.
Hillsborough Commissioner Sandy Murman, who pushed the ban, calls the cafes illegal gambling houses that don’t pay taxes and siphon money from elderly and poor people.
She wasn’t surprised to hear many of them already had shut down.
“They’re just going to pack up and find somewhere else that they can prey on vulnerable people,” she said. “It’s the nature of these kinds of businesses. They’re predatory.”

Division in Theme Park Land?

As Disney fights casinos, Universal sits on sidelines

By Jason Garcia, Orlando Sentinel

10:57 p.m. EST, December 17, 2011
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/os-universal-orlando-casinos-20111217,0,6720461.story

As state lawmakers weigh whether to allow casino developers to build massive resorts in South Florida, most of Central Florida’s biggest tourism businesses have come out against the plan. But one influential interest — Universal Orlando — has so far remained on the sidelines.

Orlando’s No. 2 theme-park resort, which draws more than 11 million visitors a year, says it has not taken a position on the controversial legislation, which is shaping up as one of the biggest industry slugfests in the state Capitol in years.

The resort’s neutrality extends behind the scenes as well. Lobbyists for the resort in Tallahassee, where Universal has more than a half-dozen representatives, say privately that they have not been asked to engage on the issue. Key activists on both sides of the debate say they have not heard anything from Universal, either.

Universal’s silence contrasts with the actions of other big tourism interests. Walt Disney World has been one of the harshest critics of the casino proposal and has worked to enlist other businesses in the cause. SeaWorld Orlando has publicly said it opposes the measure and any others that would expand gambling in Florida. And tourism groups ranging from the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association to the Florida Attractions Association have made defeating the legislation a top priority for the 2012 legislative session.

Universal will say only that it is “studying” matters.

“At this point, this is still a local issue, and we think it’s too soon to speak out,” spokesman Tom Schroder said. “But we are studying the statewide implications and will be part of the discussion as we see the need.”

Universal usually, though not always, marches in lockstep with Disney World on public-policy issues, and it has fought efforts to expand gambling in the past. In 1994, Universal gave $50,000 to the political group No Casinos to help it campaign against an ultimately unsuccessful constitutional amendment that would have allowed dozens of casinos to be built across Florida. Disney, which argues that adult-oriented gambling is incompatible with family-focused, theme-park tourism, gave more than $500,000 to that campaign.

But when No Casinos was resurrected in 2004 to fight an ultimately successful campaign that allowed slot machines in South Florida, Universal opted not to give any money at all. Disney gave $25,000 to that effort.

No Casinos has been resurrected again to campaign against the new casino legislation. But the group’s president, Orlando political consultant John Sowinski, said he has not yet reached out to Universal for support.

“They’re on my list,” Sowinski said.

Universal’s loyalties in this year’s battle could be divided.

One of the companies leading the lobbying blitz to authorize casinos is the Genting Group, which has outlined plans for a 10 million-square-foot resort in downtown Miami. And Genting is an important international business partner for Universal Parks & Resorts, Universal Orlando’s parent company.

Genting owns and operates Universal Studios Singapore, one of two overseas Universal theme parks. That park, which opened in early 2010, is part of Genting’s roughly $5 billion Resorts World Sentosa development, which also includes a casino. Universal Parks & Resorts, a unit of Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal media division, earns licensing fees from Genting.

Universal would not say whether its relationship with Genting has played any role in its decision to remain neutral in the casino debate.

“We want what’s best for Florida,” Schroder said.

Genting said it has not made any effort to enlist Universal’s support in its Florida lobbying campaign.

“We have not had discussion with Universal regarding a partnership in the U.S., but enjoy a successful partnership with Universal Studios in Sentosa and look forward to a bright future there,” said Jessica Hoppe, general counsel and vice president of governmental affairs for Genting’s Resorts World Miami project.

Some industry analysts say it is also possible that Universal is less hostile to casinos because its core target audience is slightly older than Disney’s. Universal parks, for example, have far more height-restricted thrill rides than Disney parks. And though Disney hosts the child-friendly “Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party” in the Magic Kingdom each fall, Universal stages chilling “Halloween Horror Nights” instead.

Still, Dennis Speigel, president of International Theme Park Services, a Cincinnati-based consulting firm, said casinos could be a turnoff even for Universal’s edgier demographic.

Theme parks and casinos are like “oil and water: They just don’t mix,” Speigel said. “We have found in our research that people who come to gamble are not theme-park-goers. They’re slot-machine players.”

Speigel said the prospect of gambling is likely to be especially off-putting to the millions of new visitors Universal has attracted in the 18 months since it opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter — a themed land based on a series of books aimed primarily at younger readers.

“Universal’s a little different than Disney in that it’s more skewed to the thrill riders, but that’s changed with Harry Potter. Harry Potter has brought back the family segment,” he said. “If you look at that growth, that’s primarily been in the families-with-children segment.”

Community Competition Over Slots? Haven’t We Been There Before and Lost Repeatedly?

Palm Beach County considers slot machines to keep up with expanded South Florida gambling

County Commission votes Tuesday on slot machine referendum

By Andy Reid, Sun Sentinel

2:06 p.m. EST, December 17, 2011
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/palm-beach/fl-slots-gambling-palm-20111217,0,155295.story
Palm Beach County
gambling supporters are betting that slot machines offer a way into South Florida’s proposed casino gold rush.
Broward and Miami-Dade counties are asking the Legislature for the chance to build Las Vegas-style casinos, and Palm Beach County business and political leaders worry they could lose out on the tourism, jobs and tax revenues expected to follow expanded gambling.
To stay competitive, Palm Beach County gambling proponents want to at least get slot machines at their only existing parimutuel facility, the Palm Beach Kennel Club.
Allowing slot machines would open the door to more of the casino-style gambling long advocated by kennel club owners, the influential Rooney family.
Palm Beach County can take another step toward expanded gambling on Tuesday, when the County Commission takes its final vote on whether to hold a referendum in November, asking voters to allow slot machines.
“Whether we like it or not, we are in gambling territory,” said Palm Beach County Commission Chairwoman Shelley Vana, pointing out that slots already are allowed in neighboring Broward County. “We need to keep our hand in there so we are not just the also-ran for tourism in South Florida.
“Maybe [slot machine gaming] is a foot in the door.”
While supporters trumpet the potential infusion of cash into the Palm Beach County economy, gambling opponents warn of the social

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costs expanded gambling could bring.
Slot machines that could further enrich the kennel club also threaten to fuel gambling addictions and lead to more crime in already-struggling neighborhoods near the dog track.
Slot machines and expanded gambling don’t fit in with Palm Beach County’s taxpayer-backed push in recent years to attract biotech companies and associated high-tech industries, according to state Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm

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Beach
“There certainly [can be] a downgrading of the local area,” said Pafford, who opposes allowing slot machines. “People come to gamble and they blow their money. … Is that the direction that we want to go?”
The county’s proposed referendum is contingent on the Florida Supreme Court upholding a lower court ruling allowing voter-approved slot machines at parimutuels without amending the state constitution.
Palm Beach County’s measure aims to limit slot machines to the kennel club, instead of allowing them at other sites such as the defunct jai-alai fronton in Mangonia Park.
“With the change in the lay of the land in gaming, the opportunity to put slots [at the kennel club] will continue to allow them to be viable and competitive,” said Dennis Grady, president of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches. “In this day and age, you want to see them continue to expand.”
The Palm Beach Kennel Club, on Congress Avenue and Belvedere Road across from Palm Beach International Airport, opened nearly 80 years ago.

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It owns 60 acres, employs 650 people and features live greyhound racing, simulcast horse racing and poker.
The owners, the Rooney family — who own the Pittsburgh Steelers — have lobbied for years to get slot machines and other expanded gaming.
The family includes U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, and state Rep. Patrick Rooney Jr., R-West Palm Beach, who is president of the kennel club.
Voter approval of slot machines would be more than just a boon for the Rooney family, said Mat Forrest, kennel club lobbyist.
Slot machines could bring more tax revenue to help the surrounding Westgate neighborhood, a designated redevelopment area in need of sewer lines, drainage improvements and other infrastructure upgrades, he said.
“Property values are going to go up,” Forrest said. “It’s a benefit to the overall area.”
Yet one of the kennel club’s closest neighbors, Belvedere Baptist Church, isn’t convinced that increased tax revenue is worth the problems expanded gambling could bring.
The Rev. Samuel Henry worries that slot machines feed a gambling habit much more addictive than the dog racing and poker already occurring across the street from his church.
Henry, from Mississippi, said he has seen increases in pawn shops and crime follow slot machines and casinos to the Gulf Coast. Now he worries about expanded gambling making things harder for Westgate.
The County Commission needs to “do its homework” before opening the door to slot machines, Henry said.
“You just bring in trouble,” Henry said. “You are trying to build your economy on people’s addictions.”

Preserve the Herald Building?

Dade Heritage Trust Wants Genting’s Miami Herald Building Declared A Historic Landmark

First Posted: 12/20/11 08:54 AM ET Updated: 12/20/11 10:29 AM ET

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/20/dade-heritage-trust-wants_n_1160253.html

Relegated to the left side of the Miami Herald online today is a story that could pause the march of one mega-casino in its path — or at least send its architects to bed with the vapors: the Dade Heritage Trust has said it will file an application to have the Miami Herald’s orange fortress declared an historic landmark.
That’s the same waterfront One Herald Plaza building that owner McClatchy Co. sold for $235 million early this year to Genting Malaysia, a gambling consortium who shortly unveiled site plans for what would be the largest casino in the world (plans that clearly included the demolition of the Herald building). The event kicked off anew both the push to allow a limited number of resort casinos in South Florida, and the snowballing movement to stop them.

The Dade Heritage Trust appears to have a very strong case for historic designation, which if awarded would prevent Genting from altering significantly the exterior of architects Naess and Murphy’s Miami Modern-style box, the paper’s home since 1963. If the so-called gaming bill also passes in Tallahassee, Genting will have to integrate the original exterior — and possibly the Herald signage — into their design.

The Herald building has grown in estimation amid the recent popularization of Miami’s tropical-modern architecture, along with two prominent structures built at the same time: the Bacardi complex on Biscayne Boulevard and the Miami Marine Stadium, both now designated historic. The city has also designated 30 blocks of the Boulevard, which include numerous MiMo buildings, and Miami Beach has created historic districts around its iconic MiMo hotels, including the Fontainebleau and Eden Roc…
To declare a site historic, proponents must show it meets criteria established by the U.S. Department of the Interior, including architectural importance and association with historically significant figures and events. If those requirements are satisfied — and supporters say the Herald building clearly would — under the law, the board and commissioners are supposed to approve designation, several experts said.

Genting, who will have no legal say in whether or not the designation is awarded, immediately responded with a statement declaring the One Herald Plaza “an affront to smart urban planning,” but Heritage Trust chair Becky Roper Matkov didn’t sound intimidated.

“I’m sure we will have a lot of opposition from monied interests,” Matkov told the Herald, who are rent-free tenants in the building until 2013. “That hasn’t stopped us before.”

Although a contentious fight between the Trust and Genting is expected, the integration of historic buildings is quite common. Consider the Sears Tower at the Adrienne Arsht Center, just down the street. Constructed in 1929, the Sears, Roebuck building was added to the National Register in 1997. When the Arsht Center was built in 2006, developers decided to incorporate the Sears Tower, the first Art Deco building in the county that even predates those on Ocean Drive.

But One Herald Plaza is no Sears Tower, its detractors say. The Miami New Times voted it Best Architectural Eyesore in 2005:

Clearly it was at the vanguard of a style (American Utilitarian?) that would inspire for decades to come the builders of high schools and inner-city housing projects. This is no Tribune Tower in Chicago, an Art Deco ode to that city’s daily paper. Nor is it the stately neo-gothic 43rd Street headquarters of The New York Times. It’s not even the Freedom Tower just down

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the road, for many years the distinctive home of the Miami News. This is just a generic orange splat gobbling up our precious waterfront. But there’s hope on the horizon. This past March the Terra Group bought the building and the property for $190 million. Terra hasn’t announced plans to raze the structure, at least not anytime soon. But one can always hope.
Dade Heritage Trust, who have been successful protecting the Miami Circle, the Freedom Tower, and the Miami Marine Stadium, clearly disagree. They cite the Herald building as a prime example of Miami Modern Architecture (the building was featured in the book “MiMo: Miami Modern Revealed”), that it has an iconic presence in the city’s skyline, and that it is a symbol of the newspaper’s considerable influence.

And it’s not just One Herald Plaza that concerns the Trust. In October, they wrote a letter to the editor of the Herald, asking whether Genting’s impact on surrounding historic sites had been considered. Included in Genting’s purchase is the Shrine Building, also known as the Boulevard Shops, and Trinity Cathedral, built in 1925, sits nearby.

On February 7, the city’s perseveration board will consider whether the application has any merit, before scheduling a second hearing. Historian Arva Moore Parks, former chairwoman of the city’s planning board, told the Herald, “There’s just one issue: Does it meet the criteria? Then you have to follow the law.”