Two rival visions vie for Miami Beach Convention Center redevelopment


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Miami Beach is in the process of developing its 52-acre Convention Center District. Two teams have been chosen to compete for the project.

What: Public presentations from both teams.

Where: Miami Beach Convention Center, Hall C, Ballroom.

When: Tuesday, 10:30 a.m. (Portman) and 2:30 p.m. (Tishman).

Two teams of developers and famed architects are vying for the chance to renovate Miami Beach’s convention center, add a hotel and turn the desolate site into a connected, cohesive urban district.

The plan by South Beach ACE team, led by Tishman Hotels and Realty of New York, was designed by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, the firm led by Rem Koolhaas.

The proposal by Portman-CMC, led by Portman Holdings of Atlanta, was designed by the Bjarke Ingels Group. Ingels, a Danish architect, once worked for OMA..

Both groups will make final presentations Tuesday to the Miami Beach City Commission.

To preserve open space, OMA’s plan adds a hotel and ballroom atop an expanded and reconfigured convention center, and re-orients its main entrance toward Lincoln Road Mall to the south. Underground parking goes under a sloping park at its north end.

A series of plazas, green spaces and promenades connect the convention center and a renovated Jackie Gleason Theater to surrounding neighborhoods, including Lincoln Road Mall to the south, and to several new structures on the site, including mid-rise residential buildings on the western side, a new cultural center and a small-scale retail building.

Ingel’s design, still in flux, entails a larger building footprint on the site. Aside from expanding the convention center, BIG’s plan includes a free-standing ballroom building to its west, creating a broad plaza shaded by overhanging building corners and greenery. Small residential buildings face West Avenue. Housing is attached to the convention center facade along Washington Avenue.

BIG’s initial design replaced the Gleason with the hotel, but renderings released after the team decided to save the theater suggest its plans would put the hotel atop the convention center as well. Interconnected green spaces would run through the site.

Andres Viglucci

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