Developers competing to land a billion-dollar deal to overhaul Miami Beach’s Convention Center District submitted on Friday revised lease and revenue projections — but the city refused to immediately release the public records.
The revisions were due by close of business on Friday and were prompted by City Manager Jimmy Morales’ last-minute call to eliminate the housing and cultural facilities on the convention center site, dramatically reduce the retail space, and for the city to retain ownership of the 17th Street Parking Garage.
Miami Beach hopes to pay for renovations to its convention center by leasing the surrounding public land for private development. Reducing the scope of the project means less land will be leased, and therefore the renovation will cost taxpayers more. The public’s share of the burden has yet to be publicly released.
Miami Beach’s city attorney confirmed on Friday evening that the teams’ financial revisions had been received, but said he wouldn’t release them immediately.
“The public records law doesn’t mean that it has to be provided to you instantaneously,” City Attorney Jose Smith said Friday evening. “As a matter of courtesy, I ought to be able to read it first and digest it, before I make it a public record.”
Florida has broad public records laws that mandate many city documents be made available to anyone who asks for them.
Morales’ recommendations, made in a memo released Monday night, were dramatically different from plans created by teams of world-renowned developers, architects and urban planners over many months. Miami Beach commissioners are scheduled to pick a team at the July 17th meeting.
Finalists for the 52-acre project are:
* Portman-CMC, led by Atlanta-based Portman Holdings along with rising architect Bjarke Ingels.
* South Beach ACE, led by New York-based Tishman Hotel and Realty, along with Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rem Koolhaas.
Portman-CMC declined to comment Friday night.
South Beach ACE released a statement that said: “The core design and master plan components of the South Beach ACE proposal are very much in line with the recommendations outlined by the City Manager For this reason, the key elements of our master plan remain intact.”
The teams’ new numbers, and the city manager’s recommendations, will be discussed at a Land Use and Development Committee meeting at 5 p.m. Monday.
“We are confident that our design team can do some exciting things within the scope of the City’s guidelines, and we look forward to reviewing financial scenarios with the Manager and staff next week,” ACE wrote in a statement.
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