Miami Real Estate: In Push to License Miami Casino, Plans for Mega-Development Grow

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By Elaine Walker
Genting on Wednesday purchased the $161 million note on the troubled Omni Center from Miami real estate investors Jorge Perez, Jimmy Tate and Sergio Rok. The deal, whose purchase price was not disclosed, gives Genting control over the entire $206 million mortgage on the Omni, which is currently in the midst of foreclosure. Genting purchased the other $45 million note last week. The plan: Turn Omni into the first stage of Resorts World Miami with the ability to open a casino with restaurants, bars and entertainment facilities as soon as next fall – within months of receiving potential approval from state legislators for a gambling license. “The Omni acquisition is a strategic acquisition that answers the Legislature’s concerns about where are the jobs,” said Colin Au, a Genting principal. “We are taking a calculated risk. We are responding to the concerns and trying to create jobs as fast as possible. The Omni is what’s called a decorator-ready solution.” By combining the Omni Center with the Miami Herald property and a nearby Checkers site Genting purchased, the Malaysian conglomerate has now assembled about 30 acres. While Genting must still complete the foreclosure process on the Omni property, company officials remained optimistic Wednesday that they could reach an amiable resolution with property owner Argent Ventures and gain control of the site within a few months.

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