By Zachary Fagenson
MIAMI (Reuters) - A sweeping majority of Miami voters have cleared the way for a local developer to build a 1,000-foot-tall waterside tower that will feature a nightclub, bungee-jumping platform and vertical "drop ride" sending thrill-seekers plummeting 50 stories.
The $400 million steel-and-concrete SkyRise tower will have an observation deck second in height in the United States only to Las Vegas' Stratosphere Tower.
"The concrete itself would be enough to do a 4-foot-(wide) sidewalk from Miami to Tallahassee," a distance of almost 500 miles, said developer Jeff Berkowitz after voters approved the project by a nearly 2-to-1 margin on Tuesday.
The start of construction was delayed last year after local lawmakers said the tower needed public approval to be built on a nearly 2-acre piece of public land by the water's edge.
Tishman Construction, builder of both the original World Trade Center in New York and its successor complex, along with Miami-based Coastal Construction, will serve as general contractors.
Montreal-based gsmprjct° - which designed the observation deck atop the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world's tallest building, has been contracted to handle the one that will sit on the SkyRise tower.
Berkowitz, who said he had put in the first $30 million, is looking to raise additional capital through private equity and investors using the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service's EB-5 visa program, which offers green cards to people who invest $500,000 to $1 million and create or save 10 jobs in two years.
"We're going to be marketing all over the world," Berkowitz said. "Latin America, we believe, is a fertile market, particularly for Miami."
The EB-5 program is expected this year to issue the maximum 10,000 visas for the first time, with the bulk going to Chinese investors. Critics say it is rife with fraud and an easy way for wealthy foreigners to buy residency.
(Reporting by Zachary Fagenson; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Peter Cooney)