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Scaled down Miami Beach Convention Center expansion gets green light

After a proposed billion-dollar expansion of Miami Beach Convention Center was called off earlier this year, a less expensive upgrade — with a new development team — is planned at the facility.

Miami Beach City Commission approved nearly $600 million for the overhaul, which will be led by Fentress Architects.

Prior to this announcement, the City of Miami had awarded the project to South Beach ACE (SBACE), but its $1.2 billion plan to redevelop the convention district needed 60-percent voter approval due to the firm having to lease city land. The new plan doesn’t require this approval.

The expansion of the 1.4 million square-foot convention center is scheduled to be finished by 2017. Fentress along with subcontractors Arquitectonica and West8 will gear up in 2016 to work on an 80,000 square-foot ballroom, bathrooms, kitchens and exhibition space. Additionally, an outdoor event area and six-acre public green space will be added. The improved venue also expects to become more sustainable through energy reduction and solar power usage.

In November, the City Commission voted 6-1 to allow voters to decide whether an 800-room convention center hotel should be implemented. Just like the SBACE proposal, this hotel requires a 60-percent vote to pass.

The renovated convention center and the proposed hotel are expected to impact the city positively. City officials expect the venue to generate $2.5 billion over 30 years, and they predict $11 million a year from a hotel lease.

See related article:Miami Beach revokes $1B convention center project.”

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