The Miami River Commission this week approved plans for a superyacht marina on the Miami River. Homero Meruelo, who owns the ageing marina called Brisas del Rio, submitted plans for enclosed slips for up to 16 superyachts.

The project, which would be renamed the Miami Mega Yacht Marina, was earlier recommended by a commission sub-committee. Meruelo will now have to secure permits to build the marina.

Besides covered berths for the yachts, each unit will have living quarters for the captains and crews.  “We believe this type of facility does not exist anywhere in the world,” Meruelo told the commission. He added that it would benefit the river economically, while bringing the superyacht sector to Miami.

The plans call for 16 slips for yachts up to 200ft LOA, with accommodation, parking and space for a repair shop. The complex would include a clubhouse with coffee shop, Internet room, dining area, spa, exercise room, media room and swimming pool. A warehouse/office building would be built for marine-related businesses.

Antonio Rodriguez-Tellaheche, director of architecture with HCD Developers, prepared the plans.  “The existing use is an eyesore,” Rodriguez-Tellaheche told the Miami Daily.  “We don’t know of a facility like this – anywhere. We believe it’s the beginning of a new era in Miami-Dade County.”

Susan Engle of Enviro Care, working with the developer, said she expects the permitting process to take eight to 12 months.

Commission member Sandy Batchelor told the paper that the project would add an economic dimension to the area and bring new jobs. It would be “a bonus for the city,” she said.

“It’s a great project. I’m excited about it. It’s long overdue,” added commission member Richard Durbin.

“We expect completion in the summer of 2015,” Meruelo told the commission.