As you know, the City of Miami Beach began the long-awaited $615 million renovation of our Convention Center late last year. In addition to serving as the Chairman of the Chamber Board, I also have the pleasure of being the Chairman of the Convention Center Advisory Board for the City of Miami Beach. On March 15, Miami Beach residents will have the opportunity to vote on an important addition to the Convention Center project, the adjacent Convention Headquarter Hotel, that will put the final touch on the new Center and ensure that the investment is worthwhile.
The Hotel project requires your approval on Election Day as it will be built on a small, City-owned parking lot behind the Jackie Gleason Theatre. That land would be leased to a private developer, who would pay for the entire project and pay the City millions of dollars in lease and tax payments each year. As a Miami Beach native, born and raised, I am 100% behind the Convention Center Hotel project and I hope that you will join me in support after considering the following facts:
• The Convention Headquarter Hotel will be 100% privately funded – Beach taxpayers won’t pay a cent for it.
• The Hotel will pay an estimated average of $24.6 million in annual lease and tax payments, which will be used by the City to improve our neighborhoods.
• A second ballot question will direct these funds to pay for: flood mitigation, undergrounding of utilities, K-12 education improvements and transit improvements.
• Lastly, the Hotel will attract high-profile, fly-in events to the Convention Center, instead of the traffic-heavy local tradeshows that currently clog our streets for days at a time.
There’s no question that the Miami Beach Convention Center is both an economic engine and a point of pride for our community. Without an attached hotel, however, it will just be a $615-million white elephant that continues to draw local tradeshows – and the traffic headaches that come with them – while missing out on bringing world-class events to our community.
Clearly, I’m passionate about this issue and want to see the Convention Headquarter Hotel become a reality. My hope is that this has helped convince you that the Hotel is right for our hometown too.
That said, if you have any questions, please call the Miami Beach Chamber at (305) 674-1300.
Thanks so much and be sure to vote “Yes #60” on March 15! Feel free to pass this newspaper along to any of your friend or family who are City of Miami Beach residents.
Michael S. Goldberg