Miami Beach

Miami Beach City Commission to discuss bids for convention center renovation, hotel

The current effort to renovate the Miami Beach Convention Center — a project that has seen many false starts through the years — has hit a bump in the road after three of the four firms competing for the contract have dropped out.

One company, Clark Construction Group, is left in the second phase of the solicitation, where bidders are supposed to give the city their best price.

Four firms responded to the solicitation in November, and after three were shortlisted to move to the second phase, third-ranked firm Hensel Phelps Construction. Co. withdrew. Then fourth-ranked Tutor Perini Building Corp. declined an offer from the city to continue through the process.

That left Clark and another firm, Hunt Construction Group, to compete. On Jan. 21, Hunt backed out.

On Monday, Mayor Philip Levine said he believes the commission should defer the discussion on the convention center bid scheduled for Tuesday afternoon to give city staff more time to come up with alternatives.

“What we’re going to do is to research it further and come up with some additional options to continue,” he said. “I’m not satisfied because the most important thing for us is to get the best deal for the people of Miami Beach. We will not allow for us to be a non-competitive disadvantage by only having one vendor.”

The commission will also discuss the language of a solicitation for a developer and operator for a proposed convention center hotel.

Levine has proposed banning any operator of a Miami-Dade casino resort from running the hotel. In comments made to the Miami Herald and at a luncheon of the Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, he said he does not want the developer or hotel operator to be involved with any gaming operations now or in the future in Miami-Dade County.

“The city of Miami Beach is anti-gaming,” he said. “Anyone can bid on this project, as long as they align philosophically with Miami Beach.”

The special commission meeting to discuss the convention center starts at 4 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 1700 Convention Center Dr.