An LA Fitness is one of several businesses in a proposed development anchored by Walmart that is meeting opposition in Miami because the site for the shopping center is an endangered forest.
Miami-Dade County, FL, Mayor Carlos Gimenez said last month that the county would suspend building and other permits for the development if the developer, Ram Realty Services, "fails to strike a deal with federal wildlife officials to protect the rare butterflies, bats and plants that live there," the Miami Herald reported.
Last week, Ram Realty Services did meet with officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and agreed to submit a habitat conservation plan with a special permit application, the Miami New Times blog Riptide reported. From Riptide:
"We intend to fully cooperate with the agencies involved, and we look forward to reaching an amicable agreement and showcasing how Ram balances its commitment to the environment with its dedication to creating high-quality communities," Peter Cummings, the company's chairman, said in a news release provided to Riptide.
The 250,000-square-foot development in the rare pine rockland habitat near Zoo Miami would include a Chick-fil-A restaurant, a Chili's restaurant, parking lots and 408 apartments.
Ram Realty Services acquired the site from the University of Miami for $22 million, according to reports. Not long after plans were announced, a petition opposing the development was published online. The petition has since garnered almost 10,000 signatures.
A spokesperson for Irvine, CA-based LA Fitness told Club Industry last month that the company is in the "entitlement process" and declined comment about the development.