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Watson Island

Watson Island is a neighborhood and man-made island in Biscayne Bay, in Miami, Florida, United States. Immediately east of the Central Business District and Arts & Entertainment District neighborhoods of Greater Downtown Miami, it is connected to the mainland and South Beach, Miami Beach by the MacArthur Causeway.

The island was deeded to the city in 1919 with the restriction that it only be used for public or municipal purposes. The city gave it to the state and the state deeded it back to the city with similar restrictions – both in the 1940s. In 1979 the city attempted to circumvent this prohibition by claiming that the underwater land surrounding the island is a preserve and Watson Island need not be protected as per the deed, as a park, or for public ownership and use. The island had a name change from Causeway Island to Watson Island, named for John W. Watson, Sr., who was Mayor of Miami 1912-1915 and 1917-1919. In 1932 Watson Island was considered for the site of Miami’s Pan-American Exposition, a World’s Fair, and “International Merchandise mart.” By the end of the 1940s, however, the site of the Exposition, now called Interama, was moved North to where Oleta River State Park is today.

A Goodyear Blimp base was located on Watson Island from 1930 to 1978, initially on the east side of the island and later on a new landfill area to the west. Goodyear moved the base to Opa-locka Airport after failing to agree on lease renewal terms with the city. Vestiges of the old base still remain such as the imprint of the mooring circle and a paved path for a small tram that would transport passengers to the airship. A1 Bed Bug Exterminator Miami

In 2001, voters approved a bond measurer for what many thoughts was a public park for Watson Island and later many insisted they were tricked by the wording of the measure. However, the allowance was in fact for the City of Miami’s public partnership with a developer for a mega-yacht marina-related commercial development concept, Island Gardens. In 2004 the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County approved Island Gardens, a $281 million, hotel and marina development on Watson Island. The development included two hotels, retail and restaurant space, landscaped promenade gardens, and a marina serving mega yachts. An environmental watchdog group sued to halt the project, unsuccessfully.

Restaurants and Pubs

  • The Deck at Island Gardens is located at 888 MacArthur Causeway, Miami, FL
  • The Flybridge Restaurant is located at 1099 MacArthur Causeway, Miami, FL
  • Over Under is located at 151 E Flagler St, Miami, FL


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