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PortMiami breaks ground for Virgin Voyages' Terminal V

PHOTOS: VIRGIN VOYAGES CRUISE_PortMiami_Terminal_V_groundbreaking.jpg
Virgin red hardhats and 'Make ship happen' shovels at the groundbreaking. At left, Dee Cooper, and the masked man at right is Tom McAlpin
Officials broke ground Tuesday for Virgin Voyages' new PortMiami home, Terminal V, with its iconic view.

Naturally, the hard hats were in Virgin red and the shovels featured one of the cruise line's slogans: 'Make ship happen.' 

'Everyone is proud of their terminal here, but I have to say we have the best spot — look at the skyline. We will be the first ship that people see as they cross MacArthur Causeway,' Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin enthused. 'This iconic view will set the stage for the incredible voyage we’ll take our sailors on, and what a fantastic way to start that journey!'

Palm grove-inspired Arquitectonica design

Virgin Voyages' Dee Cooper, SVP design and customer experience, called the project one of the highlights of her career. She led the process that selected Miami's Arquitectonica for the design, a palm grove concept that recalls the genesis of Miami Beach before tourism. 

'When we set out to bring our new terminal to life, it was of the utmost importance to pay homage to this great city and celebrate the brilliance of Miami through our design,' Cooper said. 'As part of the creative process we remembered why everyone loves Miami, its tropical seaside beauty, the amazing palm trees paired with its decades of modern architectural periods, embodied today in the amazing cityscape behind us.'

In a ceremony hosted by Port Director & CEO Juan Kuryla, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava thanked Suffolk Construction and hailed Virgin Voyages for 'signaling confidence in our thriving community.

'This partnership, as well as our partnership with all major cruise lines at PortMiami, symbolizes renewed faith in the industry,' the mayor continued. 'More cruise lines, terminals and vessels represent thousands of jobs. As this port continues to develop, the opportunities for our community, whether in jobs or contracts and services, can only increase.'

More than 1,000 construction jobs

Alexis Leal, chief operating officer for Suffolk Construction, the contractor, noted the company has employed more than 500 workers on the project so far — a number expected to double by Terminal V's completion, set for mid-October.

The 199,751-square-foot facility is targeting LEED Gold Certification, and its berth is being built to meet projected sea level rise. 

Scarlet Lady is planned to sail year-round from Terminal V, while Valiant Lady is expected on a seasonal basis.