MDM gets design approval for revised downtown Miami convention center and hotel

Marriott Marquis Miami
Marriott Marquis Miami

MDM Development Group won a key vote for the revamped design of its $525 million hotel and convention center in downtown Miami.

The city’s Urban Development Review Board voted 3-0 on Wednesday in favor of the developer’s changes with a host of conditions, including coordinating the project’s pedestrian areas with the developer of neighboring Miami Worldcenter and creating more connectivity between the revised project’s two new towers.

The Marriott Marquis Miami Worldcenter Hotel & Expo is being built at 700 North Miami Avenue. Citing shifting markets, MDM scaled the project back by splitting a planned 1,800-room hotel into two separate towers. By doing so, the developer would be able to secure financing more quickly an attorney representing MDM told The Real Deal earlier this year.

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The new design shaved off 100 rooms, reduced the parking from 1,250 spaces to 1,128 and shortened the project’s overall height from 54 stories to 53 stories. According to its application, MDM asserted separate towers would improve the flow of light and air, as well as preserve views for hotel guests and the neighboring properties. The 350,000-square-foot convention center space remains intact.

Urban Design Review Board members Dean Lewis, Fidel Perez and Anthony Tzamtzis praised the overall redesign of the Marquis Miami, but insisted the developer do more to make the pedestrian experience at the ground level less crowded. “This is a mega project that will create a lot of traffic,” Perez said. “You are going to have a lot of pedestrian activity.”

In exchange for creating high-paying construction jobs and permanent hotel jobs, as well as training programs and a culinary school, MDM received a subsidy package worth $115 million in property tax rebates in May from city commissioners. Developers of the companion Miami Worldcenter also scaled down the retail mall portion of their project from 760,000 square feet to roughly 400,000 square feet.