It looks like long-awaited renovations to the Miami Beach Convention Center are finally going to start happening. In a couple months.
The only official step remaining is for the Miami Beach City Commission to approve the cost of the upgrades, which is estimated at $500 million. If all goes as expected, groundbreaking is set for October, and phase 1 of construction would begin in December. “Our plan is to be under construction the day after Art Basel ends in early December,” said Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.
The Miami Beach Convention Center hasn’t had a major overhaul since 1989, which makes unusually outdated technology for a city that’s typically considered to be on the forefront of innovation. The redo will bring state-of-the-art features to the facility, such as upgraded telecommunications in meeting rooms, programmable LED lighting in the ballrooms and a massive media screen in the front lobby.
In addition, they’re adding about 200,000 sq. ft. of space, including 5,000 sq. ft. of additional exhibition space and a spanking new 60,000-square-foot grand ballroom. Plans are also in place for a 20,000-square-foot junior ballroom with a glass ceiling. Architecture upgrades include a ridged, wavy design that will run the length of the building’s facade. Outside the center, plans are to turn a nearly 6-acre parking lot into a public park with space for funky art installations the city is famous for.
“This is going to be, at the end, one of the most beautiful buildings in Dade County—one of the most beautiful convention centers in the country. It’s going to be state-of-the-art and a place where no matter what type of business you’re in, you are going to want to have a meeting, a convention. You are going to want to be here,” said Maria Hernandez, project director of the Miami Beach Convention Center District.
Using Art Basel as bookends, the renovations are planned to be finished in December 2017, in time for that year’s Art Basel.
In addition, plans are also being forged to build a headquarter hotel next door to the convention center. This was originally part of the center’s expansion plan, but was removed and taken on as a separate project.