Art Basel Miami Beach has agreed to stage the renowned art fair in the seaside city for at least five more years after the city fulfilled the fair’s request to pay for a $2.8 million elevator and escalator in the Miami Beach Convention Center.
The deal marks a longer commitment than the usual yearly agreements between the fair and City Hall to keep the event, known for attracting well-heeled collectors and celebrities, in the convention center each December. The fair is agreeing to lease the facility for five years beginning in 2019, with a five-year renewal option.
In April, commissioners agreed to add a $2.8 million elevator and escalator to the $615 million expansion of the convention center as part of a deal to keep Art Basel in the Beach for 10 more years. At the time, City Manager Jimmy Morales told commissioners of a possible 10-year extension floated by Art Basel to the city in exchange for the elevator.
The commission voted 6-0 on April 26 to pay $124,240 for the design of the elevator, which will connect the ground floor exhibition halls to a new 60,000-square-foot grand ballroom on the second floor.
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Over the summer amid negotiations, Morales got commission approval to work on a deal for a guaranteed five years with a five-year extension option.
On Friday, Commissioner Ricky Arriola called the addition of the elevator and escalator an “amazing amenity” and “nice design element” that he supports whether it is part of a guaranteed five- or 10-year deal.
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine touted the deal as a boon to the local tourism and hospitality economy “comparable to locking in the Super Bowl for five years.”
Beach officials consider Art Basel the marquee event for the facility, and the city has accommodated the art fair throughout the center’s massive renovation and expansion. Despite being in the middle of the project, the city made sure all four exhibition halls were available for the fair in December 2016, and the plan is the same for this year.
“Art Basel is incredibly important to the city of Miami Beach,” said Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez. “And we will work with them in any capacity to ensure that our successful partnership continues to flourish.”
In a statement, Art Basel leadership noted the Beach’s willingness to support Art Basel since its first fair in 2002.
“We are delighted to extend our longstanding relationship with the city of Miami Beach and look forward to hosting Art Basel in the newly renovated, state-of-the art Convention Center for many years to come,” said Noah Horowitz, director of the Americas for Art Basel. “Since our inaugural edition in 2002, the city’s unwavering support has helped make our show in Miami Beach what it is today: a global event and the leading art fair of the Americas, attracting an international audience of 77,000 from across the world each year.”