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March 20, 2012

Major renovations and expansions gift Miami with new event space

The aging Miami Beach Convention Center is making big plans to reinvent itself. The building, which is 55-years old and has not seen an update since 1989, could conceivably be in for major changes as the city of Miami Beach is prepared to spend $334 million to return the facility to its glory days. City officials have also offered developers the possibility of demolishing the current convention center and rebuilding on the available 52 acres of city land. 


In addition to a redesigned convention facility, the Miami Beach Convention Center will acquire an 800-room convention-style hotel complete with a 60,000-square-foot ballroom. The process is moving quickly, with the submission deadline for developer qualifications set to March 23. The city is moving quickly after a study released by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau showing that South Florida was capable of losing up to $300 million in the convention business without an improved convention space.


Despite this, the Cruise Shipping Miami convention returned to Miami from March 12-15. The Miami Beach Convention Center has been host to this event for over 25 years, and wass expected to draw over 10,000 participants to the city. In 2011, over 1,800 cruise line owners and operators attended, representing 66 companies.


Also in South Florida, The Genting Group began a project to develop a 10 million-square-foot casino, shopping and convention center in Miami and South Beach for Resorts World Miami. The property is being developed at a cost of $3 billion, and includes a 3.6-acre lagoon, two condominium towers, over 50 restaurants and bars, a shopping mall and a casino complex. 


The complex will include an eight-level structure to house the casino, as well as a convention center and meeting space. Four hotel towers will be constructed with a total of 5,200 rooms, with the largest tower housing approximately 2,000 rooms. 


Scheduled to open later this year is the James Royal Palm Miami, which offers 211 rooms and over 10,000 square feet of meeting and event space. The St. Regis Bal Harbour also opened in Miami in January of this year, and offers approximately 11,200 square feet of meeting space, a 7,800 square foot ballroom and multiple outdoor venues.


In other Florida meeting news, The Omni Amelia Island Plantation in the northeastern region of the state is currently undergoing an $86 million renovation, which began in November 2011. The resort is adding 155 new guest rooms and 20 suites, as well as 20,000 square feet of meeting space and a 16,500 square-foot ballroom. This brings the total available meeting space offered at the resort to over 70,000 square feet. The renovation is scheduled for completion one year from now in March 2013. 


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