The readers’ forum

Miami Beach deserves world-class convention center


Miami Beach deserves a modernized convention center capable of attracting world-class events and the economic impact they bring.

Recognizing that competing national and regional markets are gaining ground, the city is selecting a private partner to redevelop its convention center and the surrounding site. Two finalists were chosen in 2012 and the city will identify a winner in July.

The timing is right. Miami Beach is an international destination and South Florida is an epicenter for global business. Missing from this equation is a first-class convention facility.

South Beach ACE has gathered the world’s elite architects, urban planners, landscape architects, traffic experts, and convention center designers. Our master plan has been developed under the direction of Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rem Koolhaas.

We began without preconceived notions of what Miami Beach needs and met with homeowner groups, businesses, hotels, event planners and convention users. Their input helped us design a plan for improving the convention center, creating economic impact, and activating surrounding land:

•  The community asked for more parks, so the South Beach ACE proposal adds 28 acres of recreation and green space, a 770 percent increase over the current condition.

•  Hotels along the beach pointed out a lack of connectivity with the convention center, so we aligned the center’s new entrances with streets leading to Collins Avenue.

•  Businesses voiced concerns over too much retail that would compete with existing shops and restaurants. We consolidated retail on the ground floor of the 17th Street Garage, which will funnel people to Lincoln Road.

•  Commissioners stressed the importance of a responsible financing. Our proposal includes a healthy balance of debt and equity financing, offers more fixed rent to the City over time, and includes an agreement in principal for a significant equity investment by MetLife, one of the world’s largest investment firms.

•  The convention center’s footprint is large and impermeable. We solve this by reconfiguring the exhibit halls into a north-south scheme and stacking our hotel, ballrooms, and meeting rooms atop the building. This cuts the facility’s length in half and reorients the building’s main entrance toward Lincoln.

•  Appeals for cultural programming inspired our decision to preserve and renovate the Jackie Gleason Theater and develop a new cultural building to its west.

•  Our plan alleviates road congestion and improves mobility through the addition of traffic calming measures along 17th Street and parking lots hidden beneath green space.

The South Beach ACE proposal has been endorsed by dozens of community groups, businesses, and convention users. Most telling, our competitors have adopted many of our plan elements.

This is a 100-year project and Miami Beach has one chance to get it right. Decades of experience working with communities across the country has taught us that good partners deliver great projects. South Beach ACE intends to continue that tradition in Miami Beach.

Daniel R. Tishman, principal,

South Beach ACE, New York

Read more Letters to the Editor stories from the Miami Herald

  • The readers’ forum

    Moving toward using less gas in the future

    Re Carl Hiaasen’s July 20 column Taxpayers: Prepare to be railroaded: I question how much Hiaasen understands environmentalism, urban economies, and basic principles of livability and sustainability. Every time the Metropolitan Planning Organization and FDOT has built another billion dollar highway interchange or other heavily subsidized project that benefits the automobile, Hiaasen has been silent. But now he protests a mostly private venture, All Aboard Florida, that will revitalize rail on an existing corridor? Does he not understand that without this very rail corridor, there would be no cities, towns, and villages in Florida? Right now, we are staring at the combined threats of fossil fuel depletion and the need to address climate change. If civilization is to continue in Florida, the revival of passenger rail at all scales — commuter rail, street cars, and intercity — will be necessary.

  • No more cement

    I was born in Cuba. I was a Pedro Pan. A Cuban museum in Miami would have relevance and utmost merit as long as it was comprehensive, including all the other satellites scattered around the city. And, it should definitely not be on Parcel B, which should be green space.

  • Build workforce

    While job growth has remained lackluster, the construction industry faces a shortage of qualified workers that threatens the future of the industry — up to 1.6 million workers by 2022.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category