After 10 years of discussion and one year of analysis of proposals, Miami Beach City officials are on the cusp of choosing between two world class design teams, South Beach Ace and Portman / CMC, for its one billion dollar public/private Convention Center project.
Both teams submitted plans to redevelop the 52-acre site, which incorporates the 22-acre Convention Center, two parking lots, the 17th Street parking garage and the Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater. Both plans attempt to transform the Convention Center district into a new vibrant neighborhood with year-round activities by increasing outdoor public space, and creating a walkable district providing connectivity between the Convention Center, Lincoln Road and the City’s historical and cultural district.
In June, the selection process for the winning team entered an advanced due diligence phase. Traffic analysis comments from the City’s Planning and Public Works Departments were submitted to both teams and subsequent meetings have taken place to discuss the issues and concerns brought about by City staff. Local neighborhood groups, including the Quality Education Committee, are also involved in the process.
Several city advisory board and committee meetings have occurred and additional meetings are being scheduled.On June 18 a special meeting of the Convention Center Advisory Board took place where the board expressed their preference for the Portman/CMC team by a 4/3 vote. On June 25 a special meeting of the Planning Board will take place, followed by a July 8 special meeting of the City Commission Land Use and Development Committee. The focus of the Land Use and Development Committee meeting will be for City staff to recommend a specific master plan program, and for the Committee to review staff recommendations on the program elements. This process will culminate with a City Commission meeting later this summer, to select the team and approve the November referendum language.
The city and its staff will assure local business owners, the two development teams and, most importantly, the residents of this community that the process continues to be transparent, open and fair. Two top notch teams have been shortlisted and are ready to stand up to the challenge of becoming the City’s partner in the development and execution of this pivotal project. We are fortunate to be in this position.