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May. 17, 2013

Portman-CMC Reveals Cost-Effective Master Plan for Miami Beach Convention Center

By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor

After last month’s buzz over the stunning South Beach ACE proposal for the Miami Beach Convention Center, it is now time for the contending development team to take the spotlight. Portman-CMC, which is also bidding to re-develop the 52-acre Miami Beach Convention Center, has focused on the potential financial benefits of the development.

In a letter of intent addressed to the City of Miami this week, Portman-CMC laid out the proposal’s business and management terms, emphasizing the ongoing cooperation with city staff and officials when it comes to financing, management and land leases.

“One of the key areas we focused on was making public financing for the project responsible and sustainable, minimizing cost and risk to the city’s pocketbook,” said Ambrish Baisiwala, CEO of Portman Holdings. “For example—no new taxes and less bonding in order to finance the convention center improvements and expansion, as well as associated parking and infrastructure improvements.

“Additionally, our plan fast-tracks construction and phasing, shaving at least a year off of what many would consider the duration of this project in an attempt to generate a faster return on revenues for the city.”

Portman-CMC’s vision and overall approach to the redevelopment includes maintaining low building heights, providing a high level of connectivity to surrounding areas, creating a superior urban environment for conventioneers and residents, and maximizing the economic benefit to the City of Miami Beach. Focusing on convention center, hotel, retail, cultural and entertainment uses, the plan also includes the preservation of Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater.

According to the Portman-CMC blog, city commissioners and staff have responded in a positive way to their proposal, as it would seem to be more economical for the city. The project would be constructed one year faster and would call for less public funds spending.

When comparing the two, the Portman-CMC proposal calls for $73.4 million less in public costs and would charge fewer fees to Miami Beach. Yet it would spend more in cultural facilities—calling for an $88 million investment in cultural facilities, as opposed to $6.3 million.

The final decision, originally scheduled for June 5, was pushed back, the South Florida Business Journal reports. Miami Beach commissioners, apparently overwhelmed by the high volume of information, need more time to evaluate the benefits of each of the two proposals and have not yet released an official date for announcing the development team of the $1 billion-plus redevelopment.

Images via Portman-CMC

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