Miami Beach city commissioners chose the plan from the South Beach ACE Tishman team for the city’s billion-dollar convention center renovation project Wednesday night.
Commissioners voted 5-2 in favor of that developer over Portman-CMC, which was also vying to overhaul the 52-acre Miami Beach Convention Center district.
The big project, which has been called one of the most important projects in the history of Miami Beach, promises to bring a facelift to the nearly 60-year-old building, which plays host to events such as Art Basel Miami Beach.
Either plan would be financed by public and private funds, but Portman-CMC claimed its project would cost approximately $52.8 million less for the public. It had also promised to have an earlier completion date.
Ultimately South Beach ACE Tishman was chosen.
"The South Beach ACE team would like to thank the Commissioners and residents of the City of Miami Beach for their engagement and support throughout this master planning process. The ideas and feedback we received helped shape an exciting new vision for the City's convention center," Dan Tishman, South Beach ACE Principal, said in a statement. "We are grateful we will now have an opportunity to help the City realize that vision. We have long believed that a renovated convention center, adjacent hotel, and reimagined convention center campus are critical to Miami Beach's ability to maintain and grow its desirability as a tourism and convention destination. We now look forward to working with the City and the community to bring this project to fruition."
Two members of the city commission opposed it, including Commissioner Edward Tobin who said he preferred Portman-CMC because in addition to being less costly, he thought they would be better partners and easier to negotiate with.
Commissioner Michael Gongora voted for Tishman. Even though it had a higher price tag, he said it ultimately appealed to him more, citing that the plan included more green spaces. Gongora also said it wasn't just about what the project costs, but what Miami Beach would get back.
Several commissioners did express a willingness to work with either group and were satisfied that the project would be moving onto the next step.
The project will go before voters in a referendum on Nov. 5.
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