Commissioners select South Beach ACE to overhaul Miami Beach Convention Center

South Beach ACE competes against Portman-CMC, wins bid

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Miami Beach commissioners voted 5-2 late Wednesday to select South Beach ACE to overhaul its aging Convention Center.

Commissioner Michael Gongora made a motion to award the deal to South Beach ACE, and Commissioner Jorge Exposito seconded the motion.

But before a vote was taken, commissioners discussed the merits of each team's presentations as well as their plans. Vice Mayor Ed Tobin raised concerns that South Beach ACE was too hungry to over-develop not only the 52-acre site, but also to make proposals on other areas of Miami Beach as well.

City Manager Jimmy Moraes, who had not made a formal recommendation on either plan last week, said he would've chosen Portman-CMC, the opposing team.

Dan Tishman, the principal of South Beach ACE, was not in commission chambers on Wednesday.

Tishman released a statement that read in part, "The South Beach ACE team would like to thank the Commissioners and the residents of the City of Miami Beach for their engagement and support throughout the master planning process."

Victor Diaz, a South Beach ACE partner, told Local 10's Janine Stanwood he expected the team to be busy in the upcoming months. He also said the remodel of the 52-acre site will not only be good for tourism, but for residents.

Diaz said the team took residents' concerns about having too-big a development in the heart of a small city in mind.

"This is an economic development opportunity," Diaz said.

The project, estimated to cost up to a billion dollars, will be funded with a mix of city and county taxes, a raised hotel bed tax approved by voters last year, as well as rent from the developers.

South Beach ACE now moves ahead to negotiate with the city how much the project will cost and what it will look like.