Miami Beach

City to consider ‘Plan B’ for convention center renovation

This image shows initial designs of the facade of the Miami Beach Convention Center.
This image shows initial designs of the facade of the Miami Beach Convention Center. CITY OF MIAMI BEACH/FENTRESS ARCHITECTS/ARQUITECTONICA/WEST 8

Miami Beach could not reach a deal with the only remaining firm bidding to finish the design and renovate the Miami Beach Convention Center, so city commissioners will have to consider another plan to keep the long-awaited project from being derailed.

According to staff memos sent from City Manager Jimmy Morales to the City Commission on Tuesday, Clark Construction Group could not finish the job within the city’s budget of about $500 million without making unexpected changes to the plans.

“From the budget perspective, it became clear that Clark did not believe they could deliver the project for the city’s budget, without the city hastily agreeing to a number of ‘value engineering’ or re-design proposals previously not considered by the city or its consultants,” reads the memo.

The memo also notes that the lack of competition made it impossible to continue with the design-build approach and that soliciting another firm to finish the designs would delay the project by a year. The city wants construction to start after Art Basel in December this year.

Now city staff is proposing to pay Fentress Architects, which worked with Arquitectonica and West 8 on the first 30 percent of the plans for a price of $11 million, to finish the drawings for an additional $14.5 million. Then the city would put out to bid a contract for a “construction manager at risk.” After selecting a firm and negotiating a guaranteed maximum price, the firm would put subcontracts out to bid.

The construction manager at risk approach puts the city more at risk for cost overruns if design changes are needed during construction.

The City Commission will consider the changes at Wednesday’s meeting.

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