MSC Cruises gets green light for $300M terminal project at PortMiami

A rendering of the project

A rendering of the project

The Miami-Dade County Commission on Thursday approved a $300 million terminal development by MSC Cruises at PortMiami.

The cruise line plans to build its two-terminal building on 16.7 acres, under a 62-year lease, which may mark the biggest lease deal in port history.

Holland & Knight partner William R. Bloom, who represents MSC, said the company would pay rent totaling $2 billion over the 62-year term of the operating lease.

“I think this is the largest [lease] deal the port has ever done,” Bloom said. PortMiami has approved shorter lease deals for preferential berthing agreements “in the neighborhood of 30-year terms,” he added.

The MSC lease won’t have options to extend the term, Bloom said.

MSC plans to build a single building at PortMiami with two terminals where two cruise ships could operate simultaneously.

The MSC project was one of 11 projects at PortMiami that commissioners approved on Thursday for cruise lines, including Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Virgin Voyages.

“These PortMiami deals constitute the most extensive transactions done by our port simultaneously,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said. “These deals are expected to generate a total minimum revenue guarantee of approximately $4.6 billion in wharfage, dockage and capital recovery fees during the initial phase of the deals.”

MSC – which moved its South Florida operations from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale to PortMiami in 2013 – plans to base four cruise ships in Miami in the upcoming winter season, up from just one three years ago.

“But we have bigger ambitions,” said Roberto Fusaro, president, MSC Cruises USA.

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