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Posts Tagged ‘Miami Beach Convention Center’

Exhibit - installation from Olafur Eliasson

Exhibit – installation from Olafur Eliasson

Here’s this exciting time of the year again, just 2-3 days before the Art Basel Miami Beach week begins ( this year : December 2-8th ), when Miami and Miami Beach are still fairly quiet but trucks bringing art and tent installation materials are already blocking the roads here and there causing massive traffic. Visitors are arriving. However, museum exhibits and educational programs, artist studio and art collection tours, over 20 art fairs and hundreds of parties start on Monday December 2nd. An average of 50,000 visitors are expected, from all over the world, trying to get a grasp of the multitude of exhibits and events taking place in less than a week . Too much to see in such a little time but getting a share of this year’s feast of the senses ( 12th edition already ) should be good enough. Most of the art fairs and exhibits will take place between Miami Beach and Midtown/Wynwood.

Perez Art Museum opening in Downtown Miami

Perez Art Museum opening in Downtown Miami

This year’s highlights include : the first edition of Brazil Art Fair, showcasing Brazilian galleries ( Just South of the Design District ), The opening of the new PAMM or Perez Art Museum Miami ( facing the bay, just left of the American Airlines Arena ), which access is free on the week of December 2 for Miami-Dade residents, offering an exhibition of work from Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei ( It is suggested to check the museum website to find out about access and parking ), artist talks at the Art Basel Miami Beach fair ( Miami Beach Convention Center ) with Berlin/Copenhagen-based artist Olafur Eliasson ( December 5th, 3 pm ) and with NY/LA-based artist Doug Aitken ( December 5th, 10 am ), the YoungArts organization exhibits and installations ( at the YoungArts campus, previously known as the Bacardi building, 2100 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami ) and an exhibition on “The art of looting” and “What happens to looted art after a regime is ousted ?”, held at The Jewish Museum ( 301 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach ). To find out about this week’s key events : here or there.

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South Beach ACE project

South Beach ACE project

After a few years of non-construction in residential and mixed-used projects, retail and office inventory has been going down in many key areas of Miami-Miami Beach. There is now so much going on and so many urban and suburban developments taking place or in the pipeline that I have decided to break them down into a series of posts. Each part will be presenting a new project which will be transforming the area forever.

PART 1 presents the new Miami Beach Convention Center project, which I wrote about not too long ago. This is the one making the news right now as one of the final bidders, South Beach ACE, just won the competition . Also, the project has been raising some vivid reactions in a few layers of the community. South Beach ACE, who gathers architects Dan Tishman, who is behind the One World Trade Center in New York, Rem Koolhaas, Dutch architect and professor in Architecture and Design at the graduate school of Harvard University and local developer Robert Wennett, who is behind the garage and retail stores at 1111 Lincoln Road. The ambitious 52 acre, over $1 billion development will redevelop the convention center as well a create a hotel, parks, parking garage and possibly new residential and retail spaces. The controversy surrounding the project partly lies on the fact that some Miami Beach residents, politicians and activists are questioning the fact that the City of Miami Beach would be leasing the land where the project will be built to South Beach ACE, leaving the new landlord with a lot of power to decide on the land use. A referendum will be taking place on November 5. If new retail spaces are created, they will add competition to the current Lincoln Road stores, which already hosts some big names such as Apple, BCBG Max Azria, Desigual, H&M, Forever 21 and should welcome a ZARA flagship store in the upcoming months. Also, the new residential units would add freshly built condos to a neighborhood where most of the homes are Art Deco apartments and houses built between the Thirties and the Fifties.

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Welcome to Miami Beach signYears of discussion about renovating the outdated Miami Beach Convention Center have led to a fierce redevelopment plan competition. There are now two firms competing for the final of the mega project to renovate and redevelop 52 acres in the middle of Miami Beach, including the Miami Beach Convention Center, the ugly 17th street parking garage, the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens and the Fillmore-Jackie Gleason theater. This is the largest urban development, costing over $1 billion, to be designed in South Florida. The final two competing teams are led by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas with the Office for Metropolitan Architecture and Danish architect Bjarke Ingels ( who is the designer behind BIG for Grove at Grand Bay new construction project which just broke ground in Coconut Grove ) for Tishman’s South Beach ACE Design.

Project designed by Rem Koolhaas

Project designed by Rem Koolhaas

Both projects are designed by European architects who probably understand somehow better how to design urban centers that connect to the rest of the city. Rem Koolhaas offers to link the new project to Lincoln Road while Bjarke Ingels incorporates a connection to the New World Symphony building on 17th street. Both developments feature a renovated convention center – build on and around the current one -, a hotel, a ballroom, a cultural center,  residential units and retail. We should find out which team will win the bid on July 17th.

Each mega development project attracts some controversy and this one is no exception. First, the City of Miami Beach owns the land, however, it is planning on leasing it for 99 years to the developer who wins the bid. Many are saying the city has enough funds and should not lease its land. Second, leasing the land for a century to a private developer would allow this company to take over control over the use of the land, which infuriates many residents, including organization Let Miami Beach Decide, which is asking for a referendum on the project.

Project designed by Bjarke Ingels

Project designed by Bjarke Ingels

What I personally wonder is why the current convention center will not be knocked down to create a totally new building. From what I read about the topic, the structure of the existing convention center will remain and the new developments will be built on top of it and around it. Where will the Miami Boat Show, Art Basel Miami Beach and other main local fairs will take place during renovation time ?

Although the additional retail and hotel spaces will certainly add competition to the retail spaces located on Lincoln Road and the hotels lined up along Collins Avenue, the current office, retail and residential markets ( for rent or sale ) of the area will keep increasing in value, especially around 17th street, James, Meridian avenue and its surroundings.

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