300-foot-tall convention center hotel proposed for Miami Beach

Renderings of Portman's proposed Miami Beach convention center hotel
Renderings of Portman's proposed Miami Beach convention center hotel

Portman Holdings unveiled its plans on Thursday to build a 300-foot tall, 800-room convention center hotel on top of the Fillmore Miami Beach’s parking lot by November 2018 — if, that is, it’s approved by Miami Beach officials and voters.

Portman Holdings, an Atlanta-based, family run, architecture and real estate development firm, was the only contender left bidding for the right to develop a convention center hotel. A second contender, Chicago-based Capital Group, LLC, was deemed “non-responsive” by Miami Beach officials.

Jack Portman, vice chairman of Portman Holdings, proposed a curved blue building adorned with gold abstract trimmings designed by his father, and the company’s founder, architect John Portman.

The hotel will have 701 guest rooms, 99 suites, 95,210 square feet of meeting space, 320 parking spaces, a fitness center, spa, business center, and five food and beverage establishments. It will also have multiple pools in the midst of two roof-top-style gardens created by the urban design and architecture firm West 8. The gardens won’t be located on the very top of the hotel, but on platforms 80 feet off the ground on both sides of the building — one facing east, the other west.

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In exchange for a 99-year lease, the developers promise to pay the city 4 percent of its gross revenues. John Portman IV, chief operating officer for Portman Holdings, estimated that the city will receive $2.5 billion in the course of the 99-year lease.

Portman IV said the project will cost about $405 million to build. Portman Holdings will kick in $17 million toward its construction costs, a financial institution to be named later will loan $243 million, $162 million would be raised from private equity funds, and $145 million will come from an institutional investor. One institutional investor that has expressed interest is China Orient Summit Capital, a quasi-Chinese state owned financial company that has partnered with Portman Holdings on projects in the past.

Jack Portman said his company has a track record of building 11 convention hotels in the United States with more than 500 rooms, plus nine additional hotels around the world with 500-plus rooms.

City Manager Jimmy Morales is due to recommend or reject Portman Holdings’ proposal by May 20, then Miami Beach City Commission must approve it. An agreement with the city will need to be hammered out by July in order for the item to be placed on the upcoming November 3rd ballot. Under Miami Beach law, any proposal to lease city-owned land must be approved by Miami Beach voters.