Committee backs downsized Miami Beach convention center hotel

Potential hotel operator would have to agree to a lease that allocates at least 80% of hotel rooms for conventions

Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater
Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater

More than a year and a half after voters rejected a 288-foot tall convention center hotel in Miami Beach, an ad hoc committee is recommending a proposal for a hotel capped at 185 feet with up to 1,000 rooms, according to a recently released report.

At a Miami Beach City Commission meeting on Tuesday, commissioners deferred a discussion on the committee’s findings until a later, as yet undetermined date.

The committee wants another six months to conduct community outreach so residents are fully informed about the new plan before city commissioners vote to put the hotel on the ballot again. There would also be a straw ballot to gauge public sentiment prior to the city putting out bids for a hotel developer.

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Because of earlier opposition to the hotel, any ballot measure requires a 60 percent super-majority from voters. In March of last year, Miami Beach voters only gave the measure 54 percent approval, largely based on fears that any new hotel would only worsen traffic congestion in Miami Beach.

In addition to the downsized hotel, the new proposal calls for 284 parking spaces and 91,000 square feet of ballroom space. The project would be directly connected to the renovated and expanded Miami Beach Convention Center and would be located between Washington Avenue and Convention Center Drive north of 17th Street, where The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater, a city-owned office building and a parking lot are located.

“Best efforts should be made to engage a world-class architect to promote the creation of an iconic design,” the report states. The committee — which includes former and current city commissioners — is also recommending the city build a new “state of the art” theater of “similar size and function” at a new location.

Any potential hotel operator would have to agree to a lease that allocates at least 80 percent of the hotel’s rooms for convention center events, and that the city would develop a detailed traffic mitigation plan, the committee agreed.

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