Miami Beach is finally coming into its own as a full-fledged convention destination after voters approved lease components of a hotel adjoining the newly-renovated Miami Beach Convention Center. Developer David Martin says Miami Beach Mixed Use Investment LLC is moving forward with hotel design, engineering and permitting and going through a series of approvals at the city level. He said his goal is to be under construction within one to two years and to try to complete the hotel within four to five years.

“It’s a significant project and we want to do it responsibly. We’re embracing a lot of new technology and resiliency components into the building,” Mr. Martin said. “We want to start protecting our city and thinking of the future, and we need to start doing that today. We’ll be engaging the community along the way and announcing our hospitality brand very shortly.”

On Nov. 6, Miami Beach voters approved two ballot questions regarding the hotel. The first approved the city using the rent from the hotel lease paid by the developers for stormwater projects, traffic reduction and education. The second question approved the actual lease of city property to the developers for 99 years with several requirements: no gambling, no city funding, construction and operation of 800 hotel rooms connected to the convention center with a maximum of 185 feet, and a guaranteed rent of $16,616,242 over the first ten years.

The Miami Beach City Commission adopted the resolution to approve the lease on July 25 after two public hearings.

Miami Beach Mixed Use Investment, LLC, also known as Miami Beach Connect, is a joint venture between Mr. Martin, a principal of Terra International Investments LLC, and Jacquelyn Soffer, a principal of Turnberry Associates.

The approximately $362 million hotel, including an overhead pedestrian skybridge connecting the hotel with the newly-renovated convention center, is to be completely privately funded. The developers won’t receive city subsidies or tax rebates and they must pay all the usual resort taxes and required fees.

The hotel is to have at least 320 parking spaces, and its design still must be approved by the Design Review Board of Miami Beach. The Art In Public Places fund will also get a boost, as the developers have to give about $3.2 million to the initiative.

According to Miami Beach Connect, the project will create 3,614 jobs during development, 1,909 construction jobs and 724 permanent, full-time jobs with total projected revenue paid to the city totaling $2.6 billion, or $225 million in today’s dollars.

“From our perspective it’s great news, it’s something the hospitality industry has been wanting for 20 years, and we understand the adjacent hotel makes the building much more competitive. A hotel is required for high-end events,” said Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales. “Our whole model is trying to bring in events that don’t necessarily bring cars in but bring people in. This hotel is critical to that.”

Now, the city will be monitoring the developers and will give it “high attention” to “process as quickly as possible,” Mr. Morales said, while making sure the project sticks to the requirements of the lease.

“We believe that these are the types of projects that communities need that solve a civic purpose and at the same time create revenues for the city to be able to use on a lot of the quality of life measures that exist,” Mr. Martin said. “Our job is to max the economic impacts and quality of life.”

Source: Miami Today News