The Miami Beach City Commission has voted to abandon current plans for a $1.2-billion convention center expansion and renovation. Instead it will seek bids for a scaled-back renovation of the current city-owned venue and look for possible new locations for a hotel.
In July, the city commission sanctioned plans to renovate the existing 500,000 square foot venue, add a ballroom and 800-room hotel above the convention center, restore the Jackie Gleason Theater, increase retail outlets and build 300 residential units.
However, the proposal became an issue in a city commission election last November. Some incumbents who previously voted for the proposal lost their races and some candidates—including Jonah Wolfson, who made the convention center plan a focal point of his campaign—won.
A public vote would have been required for the portion of the project that involved the convention center and, with political momentum headed in the opposite direction, passage became more unlikely after the results of the November election.
Still, city officials told the local media they expect to have a proposal for bids on the convention center expansion ready by March.
Immediately after the vote, the development company that won the bid in July, South Beach ACE, sent the commission a letter stating the city is “contractually obligated to proceed.”