Last month, two of the world’s most prestigious development teams pitched their plans for renovating the 52-acre Miami Beach Convention Center, a project more than 12 years in the making. Both groups, Portman-CMC and South Beach ACE, presented ambitious concepts that, though still in the early stages, have excited community and business leaders.
Overhauling the Miami Beach Convention Center is long overdue and, after encountering several obstacles, plans are again moving forward. Home to The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival, Art Basel and Miami International Boat Show, to name just a few, the Convention Center attracts media attention and visitors from around the world. It’s imperative that the “home base” for these events reflects South Florida’s image, style and diversified culture.
The Convention Center project is necessary for the future growth of the entire South Florida region, not just Miami Beach. A new Convention Center will translate into additional revenue for South Florida businesses, increased tourism throughout the area, and the potential for new business development.
But, we can’t stand still. If we are to continue attracting word-class events that boost South Florida’s economy, then we must ensure the face of Miami Beach is elevated beyond expectations. For that to happen, the South Florida community and its business leaders must be actively involved in every step of the process.
Miami Beach residents and business owners are excited and have openly provided feedback during a series of forums. The developers are listening…and altering their plans to meet the needs of the community.
We must continue this discourse and expand it to the regional business level. We encourage area leaders to provide their input. It’s our civic duty to guide the two development teams along the right path to ensure the final product is something in which the entire region can take great pride. Our business leaders are experts in the Convention Center’s value to the region and which options provide the greatest benefits to the community as a whole. To maximize this rare opportunity, business leaders must take part, not sit on the sidelines.
Our community is home to innumerable bright, creative minds. This is our chance to ensure the renovation project produces a Convention Center that takes South Florida to new heights.
South Florida is more than a destination with fine resorts and beaches. It is the center of serious business, both nationally and internationally. I encourage all residents and business leaders to attend the planned community meetings to listen, engage, and respond to the presentations. Only through collective input can we be assured that the Convention Center renovation will be a success.
The next meeting will take place at 6pm on March 27th at the Miami Beach Convention Center. I hope to see you there.
Alan A. Lips serves as Chairman of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, where he has been on the Board of Governors for the past eight years. He’s also a partner at Gerson, Preston, Robinson & Company, P.A.