Atlanta Consultant Seeks Lowcost Way To Revamp Miami Beach Convention Center
By Anne-Margaret Swary
Miami Beach has selected a consultant to manage the renovation of the Miami Beach Convention Center and is working to negotiate a contract to get the firm on the job as soon as possible.
City Manager Jorge Gonzalez recommended Atlanta-based Strategic Advisory Group out of seven companies that bid for the consulting job in June, and the city commission last week authorized him to proceed.
"I felt that they best fit the skill set that we were looking for as we take the next step in this project," Mr. Gonzalez said. The company’s proposal indicated a contract range of $130,000 to $200,000, depending on the scope of service.
"The convention center needs assessment has already done. The master plan has already been done. So what we’re looking for now is assistance how to make it a reality," he said. "How do we make the project work, logistically, financially and, most importantly, how do we entice private sector interest to participate in the project?"
The revamped convention center is estimated to cost about $640 million. Miami Beach at the moment has only $55 million for the project.
The city hopes the consulting group will be able to look at the site as a developer would to help capitalize the asset so needed public dollars can be minimized, Mr. Gonzalez said.
This includes analyzing city-owned properties in the area to see if they can be brought to a greater and higher use, said City Commissioner Jerry Libbin, who also serves as president and CEO of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. Parcels that could be "rearranged" include City Hall, other neighboring city offices, the 17th Street parking garage and surface lots across from the convention center.
Strategic Advisory Group was ranked No. 3 by the committee that evaluated the seven bids, but Mr. Gonzalez said he felt the firm had the most relevant experience. Only a few points separated the top three companies, Mr. Libbin said.
Strategic Advisory Group states on its website that it has consulted on more than 80 convention facilities around the nation representing 15 million square feet of function space. Projects the firm has worked on include Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center; the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC; and Detroit’s COBO Conference & Exhibition Center.To read the entire issue of Miami Today online, subscribe to e -Miami Today, an exact digital replica of the printed edition.