Companies pitch final plans for Miami Beach Convention Center

Portman Holdings, Tishman Hotels and Realty pitch makeover plans to Miami Beach Commission

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - After months of planning, preparing, and lobbying, two major developers will compete for the chance to give the Miami Beach Convention Center a makeover.

Portman Holdings and Tishman Hotels and Realty will make their final pitches in front of the Miami Beach commission meeting Tuesday.

"These are some of the best teams in the world to do this," said Bill Talbert with the Greater Miami Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

"I would say that the future of the tourism industry in Miami Beach is at stake, pure and simple," said Stu Blumberg, the retired long-time president of the Miami Beach Hotel Association.

"Their footprint, their vision, along with the City of Miami Beach's partnership, is going to be here," said Stephanie Ruiz with the Convention Center Advisory Board. "They want it badly."

Portman's plan envisions ballrooms with floor to ceiling windows, canopies of trees, and an outdoor theater.

"This is an opportunity to bring it up to world-class standards as good or better than anybody else in their category," said Jack Portman, vice president of Portman Holdings. "I think it's important that every city, every significant city has a public square."

Team Tishman wants to create a space full of windows and trees. Their plan also includes a retractable roof and the renovation of The Jackie Gleason Theater.

The convention center, which was built in the 1950s and renovated in the 1980s, is outdated. Experts say building a new facility is critical and will lure millions of tourist dollars to the area.

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