The City today released the highlights of its final economic impact study on curtailing outdoor sales of alcohol on Ocean Drive. The question is on the ballot for the November 7th election. A full report from FIU's Metropolitan Center will be presented at Tuesday’s special Commission meeting
In a letter to Commission, City Manager Jimmy Morales outlined eight key points:
1. The Entertainment District's share of the City's overall hotel, food and alcohol sales is small (8.4% in 2015-16) and declining.
2. The proposed ordinance only impacts eight establishments, which generated total alcohol sales of $43,313,519 in 2015-16, representing less than 10% of all alcohol sales in the City.
3. There is no correlation between declining Entertainment District Alcohol sales and Hotel Room nights sold. Since the City ended alcohol sales at sidewalk cafés Citywide at 2 a.m. in 2015, the total number of hotel room-night sales has actually increased over the entire Miami Beach market.
4. GMCVB surveys show that tourists visit Miami Beach for a variety of reasons, with the beaches being the most important factor (75%). They are looking for an iconic South Beach experience, and not coming for a specific restaurant or bar.
5. Miami-Dade county residents are actually more likely to visit Ocean Drive if the ordinance were enacted (23% of those surveyed), as opposed to only 7% who said they were less likely.
6. Patrons of the eight impacted establishments who wish to continue drinking after 2 a.m. still have 68 establishments that serve alcohol until 5 a.m. within walking distance (either on Ocean, Collins or Washington).
7. The assumption that early closure of outdoor sales of alcohol will drive customers to Miami or elsewhere is not substantiated by empirical evidence. Since the City ended alcohol sales at sidewalk cafes Citywide at 2 a.m. in 2015, while alcohol sales did decrease in the Entertainment district, alcohol sales actually increased in the rest of Miami Beach, resulting in an overall 0.6% increase across the City.
8. The tax impact on the City will be minimal at worst, and is likely to be neutral in light of the fact that patrons will simply consume alcohol at other establishments on Miami Beach.
The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association released its own economic impact study
last month which predicted a dramatic economic impact to the City in terms of revenue, lost jobs, lost hotel nights, and decreased property values.