Updating our aging convention center and developing an adjoining hotel with potential mixed uses is of unprecedented importance to our city and county economy as we strive to remain a competing venue for conventions and tourism from around the world.
Proceeding with this $500 million to $1 billion development of the 52 acre Convention Center District is an extremely sensitive task that is not to be taken lightly. I am unconditionally committed to ensuring that this project moves onward but we must do so cautiously and attentive to details to avoid flaws, delays, and breaches of the law.
As such, I have strongly advocated for the public’s involvement and input as we engage in the design process of this project. The redevelopment of the Miami Beach Convention Center, though much needed, must not come at the cost of the quality of life of the residents. One of the main objectives is to get your thoughts and ideas relative to massing, traffic, design, façade, public spaces, and uses – including those that are wanted and not wanted.
On January 29th at 6:00 pm the community will have the opportunity to convene at the first of multiple public meetings to express their desires for the project. The meeting will take place at the Convention Center, rooms A101/105 on the first floor of the Washington Avenue side of the Convention Center.
The information that the community provides at this and future public meetings will be essential to the success of this project. It is my hope that in anticipation of the upcoming public meeting you can come up with helpful ideas, suggestions, and solutions.
There are many rumors circulating in the community indicating that the current City Hall building and that the Jackie Gleason will be demolished and made part of the Convention Center. At this juncture, nobody knows whether any of this will occur. However, I’d like to share with you the parcels that could be considered for possible development as part of the new Convention Center:
• The current Miami Beach Convention Center Building located between Convention Center Drive & Washington Avenue and between Dade Blvd. & 18th Street;
• The historic Carl Fisher Club House and the 21st Street Community Center located at the corner of Dade Boulevard and Washington Avenue;
• The surface parking lot located to the north of City Hall between 18th Street and 19th Street;
• The current City Hall building and the adjoining 1701 Meridian Avenue parcel;
• The surface parking lot and office building located at 555 17th Street;
• The Jackie Gleason/Fillmore Theater; and,
• The 17th Street Parking Garage.
The aggregate of the area that could be considered for development totals 2.27 million square feet. However, it is highly unlikely that the entire area will be developed as part of the new Convention Center.
The options being considered include keeping the existing Convention Center structure and improving upon it by adding a new 60,000 square foot ballroom, an additional 100,000 square feet of breakout meeting space, new outdoor function spaces, and conference/business centers, in addition to:
• Infrastructure improvements such as replacing escalators and windows;
• Sustainability improvements that could include LEED certification, solar roof panels, rain water collection, etc.; and,
• Important technology enhancements such as a distributed antenna system for better cell phone service, expanded Wi-Fi, digital read boards for meeting rooms and exhibit halls, and exterior digital signage and marquees.
As we undertake this project, we are fortunate to have some great financial tools for the renovation and redevelopment of the Convention Center; these include the 1% resort tax approved by voters in 2012, $55 million in Miami-Dade County bond proceeds, revenues from land leases, and project generate taxes.
As a city we benefit from many options from which to choose from and proceed with. I hope that you join in the discussions and contribute to the planning of the city’s future.
• Public Community Meeting #1, Tuesday, January 29, 6:00 – 7:30 pm, Convention Center rooms A101/105
• Public Community Meeting #2, Wednesday, February 27, 6:00 – 8:00 pm, Convention Center, Flamingo Ballroom 4 (West Side off Hall C)
• City Commission Workshop, Thursday, February 28, 9:00 am -12:00 pm, Convention Center, Flamingo Ballroom 4 (West Side off Hall C)
The first public meeting on January 29th will be a listening campaign for the community to express itself and for the developers to listen and take notes – please do not miss this very important meeting. During the second public meeting theoretical site plans will be presented by the developers for feedback from the community.
I look forward to sharing with you any new information that may surface pertaining to our historic redevelopment of the Miami Beach Convention Center. If you have any questions, ideas, or comments, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at 305-673-7105.
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