The top-ranked team, Portman-CMC, is led by Portman Holdings, the developer behind the 14-block Peachtree Center in Atlanta and the Embarcadero redevelopment in San Francisco. Their partners include Miami condo developer Ugo Colombo, Cirque du Soleil, the Bal Harbour Shops and hot Danish starchitect Bjarke Ingels.
South Beach ACE is led by Tishman Hotel and Realty, which developed the Walt Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin hotels. Partners include developer Robert Wennett, who helped revitalize Coral Gables’ Miracle Mile and built the instant-landmark 1111 Lincoln Rd. parking garage, and world-renowned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas.
The first community meeting for public input has been scheduled for Jan. 29.
Last week, though, a Weithorn aide, Alex Fernandez, wrote interim City Manager Kathie Brooks a memo requesting the two-team selection be reopened. His boss, Fernandez wrote, is concerned that if one team drops out, that could raise “a false perception of possible impropriety’’ given the previous bid-rigging cloud hanging over the proposal.
In an email sent by Fernandez in response to an interview request, Weithorn said the commission made its decision “too quickly.’’
“It is healthy to discuss whether residents should or should not be given a third proposer to work with in the creation of a master plan for the development,’’ the email said. It did not name a specific team.
“It is in the City’s best interest to give the Convention Center Development project more thought and analysis and to give the administration better direction to avoid mishaps, misunderstandings, surprises, and delays along the way which have unfortunately become the norm of government projects,’’ the email concluded.
In subsequent email sent in response to follow-up questions, Fernandez said Weithorn’s office received “many phone calls ... from the community and the proponents regarding this issue.’’
“There is nothing ludicrous with the Administration receiving proper direction and with ensuring that the community has a clear understanding of what is on table. Ultimately, no change is being proposed. The Commission will simply give the Convention Center Development a second thought and, if all is in good order, will confirm their initial vote to proceed to Phase II,’’ the email said.
Beach Mayor Matti Bower, a strong supporter of the redevelopment project, said she did not understand Weithorn’s concern sufficiently to take a position on it.
“We’ll see what she has to say,’’ Bower said. “But we need to move forward expeditiously.’’