The Real Deal Miami

Five developers bidding for convention center job

Broward County expects to select a developer by October 2016 and finish construction by 2020

September 12, 2015 04:00PM

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The Broward County Convention Center would expand by 300,000 square feet.

The Broward County Convention Center

Broward County has reduced to five the number of developers still bidding to expand the Broward County Convention Center and build a hotel at the center’s  Fort Lauderdale location near the 17th Street bridge.

But the long-awaited makeover of the convention center is hardly imminent, though: The county estimates it will take five years to finish.

The five developers still bidding for the project are Related Companies/PRH Investments LLC, Omni Hotels Management Corporation, Matthews Southwest Holdings Inc., Hensel Phelps Development LLC, and Fort Lauderdale Convention Center Hotel LLC.

County commissioners eliminated Cohen Brothers Development Corporation on August 25 from the list of possible developers for the convention center project.

New York-based developer Charles Cohen, who owns Cohen Brothers, also owns via affiliated companies the Design Center of the Americas and a Dania Beach hotel property, the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Port Hotel.

Commissioner Lois Wexler said Cohen Brothers failed to submit financial statements as required and has less experience in hotel development than the other five developers.

The next step in the developer-selection process encompasses identification of the hotel brand partnership and the team for design, construction, maintenance and operations.

The county expects to select a developer by October 2016, obtain the project design by October 2017, and finish construction by the summer of 2020.

The project, estimated to cost $550 million, would include an addition to the convention center measuring about 300,000 square feet and a new hotel with as many as 1,250 rooms.[Sun-Sentinel] — Mike Seemuth