South Beach ACE, the team of World Trade Center developer Dan Tishman, Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rem Koolhaas, landscape architect Raymond Jungles and local developer Robert Wennett won Miami Beach’s high-stakes bid to redevelop a 52-acre parcel surrounding the Miami Beach Convention Center, an estimated $1.1 billion project.
A nervous electricity hung in the air at the Miami Beach City Hall, crammed with architects, developers, financiers and other stakeholders and residents there waiting anxiously for the commission’s vote.
With the city planning to put in as much as $600 million through a hotel bed tax to the 99-year private development, Commissioner Ed Tobin attempted to portray Portman as a better partner, prodding the city manager, Jimmy Morales, to acknowledge his preference for Portman CMC, on the basis of the lower cost to the city and shorter construction schedule.
After Tobin’s presentation, Commissioner Michael Góngora, who is running for mayor this year, made a motion around 10 p.m. to award the estimated $1.1 billion bid to South Beach ACE. The project still faces the hurdle of a public referendum set for Nov. 5. Executives from both teams have emphasized in recent days that their submitted bids were merely master plans, sketches compared to the ultimate blueprint, with many revisions expected when the city delves in.
A second vote against awarding the bid to South Beach came from Commissioner Jonah Wolfson, whose fellow campaigners donned T-shirts and held posters in the commission chambers advocating the “60 percent” of supposed Miami Beach residents who don’t like either plan. Earlier in the meeting Wolfson said he would not cast a vote.