Aviation Department Extends Deadline For Airport Hotel Proposals
By Samantha Joseph
The Miami-Dade County Aviation Department is extending its deadline for private-sector proposals to operate Miami International Airport Hotel.
County officials are optimistic, saying the bidding opportunity is drawing inquiries from several major hotel brands including Hilton and Marriott and 17 respondents have collected proposal information.
"Just about every major brand has expressed an interest," said Aviation Director Angela Gittens.
Queries from interested bidders beginning in mid-November on issues from electrical infrastructure to airport-shuttle routes and building codes led to an extension of the proposal period to Jan. 16. The proposals initially were due Dec. 3.
"It raised a lot of questions that we sometimes had to research and answer," Ms Gittens said. She said the extension gives the department time to provide thorough responses and will allow time for prospective bidders to adjust proposals based on those responses.
Last summer, the county invited proposals from private companies interested in refurbishing, managing and maintaining the 259-room hotel with limited meeting space and no hotel-designated parking.
Patricia Ryan, the Aviation Department’s manager of commercial operations, said developers could not have foreseen modern requirements when they built the hotel 44 years ago. The department plans to provide a nearby lot, now used for short-term parking, to allow for expansion and hotel parking.
"Given today’s codes and standards, the room configuration may also be very different. The rooms were built in 1959, which means that most are smaller than the size used for a three- or four-star hotel," Ms Ryan said. "It seems that many of the interested parties may be very interested in expanding the hotel."
The request for proposals requires that the hotel be operated as a three-star property or better, and the department promises special consideration for developers with proposals for a four- or five-star hotel, she said.
Aviation Department staff plan to meet at the hotel at 10 a.m. Monday to help bidders understand the scope of the required work. Airport Property Manager Adrian Songer said the session might include a tour.
Ms. Ryan said, "A lot of the questions really deal with the physical properties of the hotel."