- The Miami Beach City Commission has approved general contractor Clark Construction's $515.4 million budget for the Miami Beach Convention Center renovation, which is scheduled to begin in December, the Miami Herald reported.
- The city will purchase materials for the project directly to save sales taxes and has also approved a 1% increase to the city’s hotel tax — an increase voters approved in 2012 — for bonds to fund the expansion.
- The project also includes construction of a six-acre park across the street from the convention center, as well as drainage improvements for future installation of storm water pumps to drain the neighborhood if necessary.
The city expects the renovation to be substantially complete in time for the 2017 annual Art Basel art event, which draws an international crowd of approximately 75,000 visitors. The entire project should be completed by summer 2018.
The city has also proposed an 800-room, 30-story headquarters hotel to service the convention center. However, the project requires a lease of public land next to the center — an element of the project requiring 60% voter approval. The issue is expected to go on the ballot in March 2016.
The Miami Herald noted the convention center renovation has "seen its twists and turns over the years," as architects battled for the rights for the project. Last year, Miami's new mayor decided to completely start over without those plans and scale down the size of the project.
In early 2014, a new mayor and commission scrapped those plans and started over. They decided to scale back the area being redeveloped and split up the renovation of the facility from developing a new headquarters hotel.
Clark, headquartered in Bethesda, MD, has a extensive experience with other high-profile convention center and sports arena projects, including the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, the Verizon Center in Washington, DC, Music City Center in Nashville, TN, and the Golden State Warriors’ $1 billion arena project in San Francisco, which will begin work next year.