Nearly two years ago, PortMiami approved an extension to Disney Cruise Line’s preferential berthing agreement which included a memorandum of understanding between the two parties to commence a negotiation for the construction of a new cruise terminal.
Fast forward to today, the Miami-Dade Tourism and the Ports Committee Agenda met and unanimously approved an amendment to extend a terminal MSC Cruises’ financing period through October 31, 2020 for their new $300 million dollar two-berth terminal project. On the surface, this is not newsworthy for Disney Cruise Line fans, but the amendment includes language for a shared use and preferred berthing agreement for Disney Cruise Line effectively ending the the previous discussion on the 2018 memorandum.
In a cost saving measure, the Miami-Date County proposed a shared usage agreement to incorporate facilities for Disney Cruise Line in MSC’s new terminal. The intent of a multi-berth shared facility with MSC Cruises and Disney is a cost-savings from the County’s previously contemplated proposal for a new Disney terminal. On September 5, 2018, the Board approved Resolution No. R-891-18, Amendment No. 2 to the Terminal Berthing Agreement with Disney, including a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a framework for the design and construction of a new Disney terminal on the Port. Due to land constraints, the previously contemplated project required a split operation with a waterside berth and landing facility and a landside terminal in the interior of the Port, inclusive of parking and ground transportation areas. The project would have also required a secure roadway connecting the two facilities. The merger of the MSC Cruises and Disney projects creates the opportunity for savings to the County on the costs associated with elements that would have been part of the separate split Disney terminal project.
According to the design firm, Arquitectonica, the MSC Cruises terminal at Port Miami which will be located on the easternmost site of the Port, will be the last terminal viewed by every departing cruise ship and the first terminal viewed by every returning ship.
The design maximizes the use of the ground floor by elevating the parking as a monumental canopy or porch. By virtue of its linear spread it allows convenient access from arrival and departure positions for both cruise ship check ins and departures. The design also reduces the number of garage levels and provides two points of vehicular access and egress via large radius spiral ramps. The liberation of the ground level allows for total flexibility in optimizing the terminal’s design, and to provide ample rain cover for bus, rideshare and taxi drop offs.
This design takes advantage of the length of the site to project a powerful shape and dimension like no other in the port. The garage is thin, so it appears as a cloud over the glass spaces below. It levitates, challenging gravity while providing shade, a fundamental principle of sustainability.
The east end rises to accommodate the offices that faces the arriving ships.
The resolution will require the County to negotiate a new preferential berthing rights agreement with Disney based on this multi-berth shared facility proposal. This new agreement with Disney will be brought before the Board together with the MSC Cruise’s amendment for review and approval within 120 days.
Below is a highlight video for today’s meeting with an overview on the item, the vote, and then Juan Kuryla, the director of the Sea Port joins the meeting to discuss safety protocols at the port, the employees and the future of cruising at PortMiami.
We will continue to monitor the progress of this item and report back once the new agreement is made public.