A look back at the Miami Beach Convention Center bid

With plans for a new convention center district in Miami Beach looming large on today’s ballot, we figured it was high time for some postmortem action here at Soundbytes. Managing media relations for the South Beach ACE team made for a whirlwind — and in the end, victorious — campaign and who wouldn’t want to relive that?

Turns out we aren’t the only ones feeling nostalgic. The Architizer design blog sat down with the two lead architects whose teams bid for the project: Shohei Shigematsu of OMA/South Beach ACE and Bjarke Ingels of BIG/Portman-CMC.

bjarke and shohei
Photo credit: Architizer

Frustrations with the process aside, there seems to be universal agreement that Miami Beach needs to do something — anything — to bring its dilapidated convention center up to modern-day standards. Not to mention the surge of economic impact and tourism activity expected to derive from a new and improved exhibition facility and an adjacent hotel.


Unfortunately, the project has become a political football (beach ball?) riddled with special interests, ulterior motives and loaded accusations.

It’s too bad, because either of the two plans submitted would have represented a marked improvement over today’s facility. Throw in credible private sector partners that are willing to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the project and you end up with a good, old-fashioned Miami Beach head-scratcher.

Here’s to hoping the calmer minds prevail and Miami Beach gets the convention center it’s long craved and deserved. Cheers!