The moment is finally here. Those who closely follow Miami’s progress have been seemingly waiting a lifetime for this decision to be made. Now they have less than a week. Commissioners are set to make a final decision on which Miami Beach Convention Center proposal will move forward.

Both groups, Portman-CMC and South Beach Ace, have identified over $1 billion in renovations to be made to the convention center. Both groups are projecting to create well over 10,000 jobs for the community. Most excitingly, both groups have taken the initiative to team up with world-class architects, Portman-CMC with Bjarke Ingels and South Beach Ace with Rem Koolhaas. Neither proposal is anything less than extraordinary and the community of Miami Beach is extremely lucky to have these two groups competing for their approval. Though it has made for an unbelievably compelling race, there can only be one victor crowned. So without further ado, we shall take a look at a brief summary of both proposals.


The Portman-CMC group has proposed creating a central square, which will be surrounded by a Latin American Cultural Museum, City Hall, and the landmark Jackie Gleason Theater. A low-height hotel will be attached to the southern end of the convention center. The planned hotel will be a monument to healthy living, as it is rumored to feature daylight-simulating alarm clocks, vitamin-c showers, and other mind-blowing innovations. The hotel will also have a viewing terrace on the roof, with a view of the planned “art roof.” The 17th Street garage will also be completely rebuilt and low-rise residential buildings will surround the west of the ballroom.

Here’s a preview:


South Beach ACE

The South Beach ACE proposal is just as exciting, though strikingly different. They have proposed completely reorienting the convention center, adding a concourse to the south and a loading & unloading area to the north. Their hotel will be built on top of the convention center and contain 800 rooms, each with their own private balcony. With Rem Koolhaas on the job, one can be certain that these balconies will be of the highest quality art deco design. Hotel meeting spaces will also be on top of the main convention center. The defining feature of the ACE proposal is their expansion of the botanical garden. Their desire is to surround the center with greenery and create a Central Park atmosphere for the Miami Beach community. A plaza to the south of the center will link the Miami Beach City Hall, Jackie Gleason Theater, and a retail/residential area to the west. The ACE plan also includes a preservation of the 17th Street garage, with added ground-level retail.

Here’s a preview:



So far each proposal has their fair share of endorsements. South Beach ACE recently received a big endorsement from the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce as well as Planning Board Chair, Charles Urstadt. Amongst their endorsements, Portman-CMC can point to a 4-3 vote in their favor from the Miami Beach Convention Center Advisory Board. However, none of that matters after next week, when the final decision is made. Residents of Miami Beach and admirers of the South Florida culture are on the edge of their seats.

For more information on the race, take a look at this brilliantly detailed overview of both proposals from The Miami Herald: