The Miami Beach Convention Center (J. Albert Diaz)
The stalled redevelopment of the Miami Beach Convention Center will break ground by September 2015, a timeline released by the city manager suggests.
In a two-page letter to the City Commission, City Manager Jimmy Morales presented a preliminary timetable that assumes the much-delayed project will be considered and approved by all appropriate municipal bodies within 16 months.
In January, commissioners killed a $1.2 billion plan to redevelop the meeting center and build an adjacent hotel. Opposition to that plan was a major campaign issue in the 2013 municipal elections.
The commission chose Denver-based Fentress Architects for the $11 million task of drafting a new plan April 9, and the city manager’s timeline expects conceptual, schematic and development plans to be ready and approved by the end of the year.
The commission would decide how to handle convention center bookings at its May 21 meeting. The city’s Design Review Board would have less than a month to approve the schematic design, and the commission would vote on a final plan before Christmas, the timeline suggests.
The builder would be chosen about a year from now. Four months later, the groundbreaking would take place in September 2015.
The timeline presented by the city manager is the first document offered related to the latest plan to redevelop Miami Beach’s outmoded convention center. Morales wrote commissioners, “An updated timeline would be provided in early May, which will continue to fast-track the process and also incorporate additional milestones.”
City leaders have been trying to pull off a redevelopment of the convention center since the early 2000s but have faced both financing obstacles and a lack of political will to move the project forward. The commission finally approved a major redevelopment plan in 2012, but that venture faced voter backlash and was summarily disposed of this year. The center’s last major renovation took place in 1988.