Competing Miami Beach Convention Center plans revamped

Team Portman, Tishman redo plans at city manager's request

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Friday was deadline day for two teams bidding to revamp the Miami Beach Convention Center. 

Jimmy Morales, the new city manager, requested both teams redo their plans by Friday evening.

"Ninety-five percent of what everybody saw in those renderings is still intact," said Joshua Wallack with the Convention Center Advisory Board. "The only thing that's really come out substantially was the residential portion."

Morales's mandate eliminated residential developments, shelved any cultural components, and scaled back retail and restaurants. The call reflected a public debate over public land in private development and quality of life concerns more development brings. 

The owners of Fontainebleau Miami Beach bid on the project but weren't selected as one of the finalists. They've opposed it since.

Opponents petitioned, saying they wanted voters to require 60 percent approval to develop some of the lots. Last year, voters two-to-one voted to increase resort taxes to fund convention center renovation.

"When you start bringing in major conventions, that puts heads in beds and you're going to need more hotel rooms, you're going to need more restaurants, more retail stores," Wallack said.

The next step for the project is for it to go before the city's land-use committee on Monday afternoon.

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