Soffer, Martin get first OK for Miami Beach Convention Center hotel

July 17, 2018   |   South Florida Business Journal

By Brian Bandell

The Miami Beach City Commission has given initial approval for a deal with Jackie Soffer of Turnberry Associates and David Martin of Terra to build a signature hotel at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Commissioners unanimously approved the developer’s bid on first reading on July 17, with a second reading required by the end of the month. If they vote for the lease and development agreement again, the item would go before the city’s voters in November, with 60 percent approval required for passage.

Tourism leaders in Miami Beach have been trying for over a decade to build a convention center hotel because many large conventions require an on-site hotel. The convention center is currently undergoing a major renovation and expansion.

"Our hotel will integrate world-class design and connect the newly reimagined Miami Beach Convention Center to the surrounding commercial district, cultural venues and public spaces,” Martin said. "The result will be an urban campus that enhances quality of life for the Miami Beach community, creates significant economic impact, includes an optimal traffic mitigation plan and maximizes the city’s investment in the convention center. Today’s unanimous approval from the commission was an important step in this process, and we look forward to returning for second reading next week.”

The plan by Soffer and Martin, operating as Miami Beach Connect, was a response to the city’s request for proposals to lease the 2.5-acre site at the corner of 17th Street and Convention Center Drive. They were the only respondent.

The 800-room hotel would rise 185 feet. There would be a large, resort-style pool deck atop a 53-foot-tall pedestal. The hotel would also have an 8,000-square-foot spa, 5,000-square-foot fitness center, and ballrooms. It would have 320 valet-only parking spaces.

It was designed by Arquitectonica. The project is required by the city to achieve Gold-level LEED certification for environmental sustainability.

The hotel would cost $348 million to $362 million to develop, according to Miami Beach Connect.

Miami Beach Connect pledged to fully fund the project without public dollars. The developer agreed to pay the city 2.5 percent of gross revenue from all components except food and beverage service, which would pay 1.25 percent. The payment would be about $2.6 million by the fifth year of the deal. Miami Beach Connect agreed to make it a union hotel.