The Master Plan for a proposed expansion of the Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) is well underway and nearly complete. Meanwhile, a study for a “conference” center is being proposed by the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), as presented at the November meeting of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. Although the study hasn’t been done, in the report presented to the Chamber, the DDA’s initial findings show the cost to the consumer would be lower compared to the Miami Beach Convention Center. This could hamper the GMCVB efforts as the conference center would be pitting “us against them” for the smaller business. Not only the Miami Beach Convention Center, but Regional Hotels such as the Loews, Fontainebleau, Four Seasons, Hilton Omni and the Downtown Marriott would be in the mix. Of the panel members, the only hotel represented on the DDA’s ULI Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) is the Mandarin Oriental, a hotel without comparable conference facilities.
The Board of Governors felt that by just considering a new project distracts focus on the major issue of the Miami Beach Convention Center which had Regional impact for South Florida. “The stakeholders in this region need to pull together behind the development of the Miami Beach Convention Center which clearly provides the greatest benefit to the region as a whole and does not distract from the focus of completing this project already in progress” stated Aaron Perry, Past Chairman of the Chamber. “I implore this board to take a position against this project which will ultimately be bad for both the city and the region”.
The ULI TAP report dated July 7, 2010, brings several concerns which local stakeholders are requesting to be addressed as it relates to the relationship between the existing Miami Beach Convention Center and the proposed “conference” center. It was also pointed out at the meeting that the panel selected to examine the feasibility neglected to include a manager of a larger facility.
The convention center in Atlanta witnessed the construction of two smaller “conference” centers nearby for their downtown area development resulting in a significant reduction in revenue by the convention center.
After the presentation and a thorough discussion, a resolution to oppose any further study for a conference center was made and passed unanimously as it was deemed to be a distraction from the Miami Beach Convention Center Expansion and Enhancement Master Plan.