Final Completion of Convention Center Pushed Back

City Center

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Final Completion of Convention Center Pushed Back:

City says no impact on scheduled events

Completion of the Miami Beach Convention Center has been pushed back until after the first of the year. In August, the City said the schedule was adjusted for a mid-October finish but the challenge of holding events during major construction has caused deadlines to slip along the way.
Since construction commenced in December 2015, 44 events have been held in the Convention Center around and in-between the work. Construction halts each year during the biggest event, Art Basel Miami Beach, which utilizes all four exhibit halls. The City’s team, led by Maria Hernandez, working with the Art Basel crew has managed to deliver space for the show that makes attendees forget the Convention Center overall has been in various states of readiness.
Despite the delay in final completion, Hernandez told RE:MiamiBeach in an email, “[T]he building has been opened for full building events since September and continues to host all the shows under Special Event permits.” Special event permits are necessary until the Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO) and the Final Certificate of Occupancy (CO) is issued once the building passes all of its required inspections.
“This is a work in progress in between shows, and has not been easy since the building is always occupied and is so large, but we’re making progress,” Hernandez said. “The October TCO date was aggressive and provided to the City by the Construction Manager. They did not meet the date due to the amount of detailed work and inspections pending to do in between events.”
Left on the interior: Completion of the Sunset Vista Ballroom, completion of four meeting rooms on the Southwest corner, final coats of paint, some additional wall panels, final punch list items, and inspections. On the exterior, some stucco work and painting, some column covers, and equipment and some lighting and fire alarms on the parking deck need to be completed
Then it’s on to final turn-over document and equipment commission and certification, Hernandez said. “[T]his is massive on a project of this scale. To give you an example, there are 20 elevators and 18 escalators. Every one of them has to be working perfectly, tested, and certified. There are 364 toilets, 170 urinals and 388 bathroom sinks. All of these flush and turn on automatically as part of the LEED program,” Hernandez wrote. “[T]hey all have to be calibrated and certified for official turnover. There are 10 HVAC (air conditioning) Zones that have to be balanced, tested, and commissioned. This is just a small example of what is entailed." The LEED program is a certification process for environmentally sustainable buildings.
As Art Basel began load-in this week, City Manager Jimmy Morales informed Commissioners via letter that the Convention Center was 97% complete as of October 30th.  He noted that work will continue “in between scheduled events which will continue after [Art Basel].” 
“The cancellation by Grand Basel of its show in February 2019 provides an opportunity for the Construction Manager (CM) to work uninterrupted to close out the project,” Morales wrote. According, the Grand Basel Miami Beach show was part of a series of budget cuts announced by Art Basel’s parent company, MCH Group, earlier this month.
Morales said the $615.4 million project is on budget with $552 million or 89.7% spent so far. The City is holding $18.8 million in monies due to Construction Manager Clark Construction “to assure that it can secure correction of any defective or non-conforming work and complete punch list items currently being documented until final completion of the project. In addition, a total of $570K in liquidated damages are being withheld from the CM as of August 24, 2018.”
“The City is constantly in active discussions with the CM to resolve any issues and achieve completion of the project while allowing events to occur as planned,” Morales wrote. “Mediation has been scheduled for late February 2019 in order to attempt final resolution simultaneous with anticipated close out of the project.”
As the Convention Center nears completion, construction will begin on the P-Lot Park, the old surface parking lot across from the building on Convention Center Drive. Morales said bids for the park are due December 13th with completion scheduled for the fall of 2019 before the Design Miami show mobilization.

The Carl Fisher Clubhouse will also begin restoration in the next couple of weeks. Project completion is anticipated prior to Art Basel Miami Beach 2019. The City’s Capital Improvement Projects Department (CIP) will manage the Clubhouse project. Critical Path Construction is the contractor.

On November 6 voters approved a lease for a hotel to be built by private developers adjacent to the Convention Center. The development team chosen by the City is led by David Martin, Jackie Soffer, and Craig Robins, all Miami Beach residents. While voters approved the lease, the design and approval process along with public comment is just beginning. Martin told Commissioners at their meeting this month that he and his team held a kick-off meeting with their consultants the day after the election and is looking forward to “working with the city in trying to build this responsibly and efficiently.”
Morales noted in his letter to Commissioners, “The MBCC project was designed to have the hotel connect at the southwest corner of the building, and our team, led by Maria Hernandez, will work with the hotel developer during the hotel construction to facilitate the connection. The developer is responsible for all costs incurred to connect the hotel to the convention center.”
Read Morales’ memo and the Miami Beach Convention Center update here.

For a look inside the Convention Center, see our story about the mid-October tour for neighborhood association leaders led by Mayor Dan Gelber.


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