Referenda 2 and 3: The Convention Center hotel

If you live in Miami Beach, you’ll also have two referenda about a potential Convention Center hotel. We’re tackling them together, but Referendum 3 is the one that will make or break whether the hotel happens. The city and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau really, really want a hotel next to the newly renovated Miami Beach Convention Center because they say not having one hurts their chances at hosting major conventions. Locals have fought a few previous plans because of concerns about their size, traffic, etc. But you’re not voting on the design at this time.

The first referendum (Referendum 2) reads:

If voters approve City’s Convention Center Hotel lease with MB Mixed Use Investment, LLC, shall the City adopt an ordinance dedicating the Hotel’s guaranteed rent payments received by the City, to enhance funding, in equal portions annually, for:

  • stormwater projects (in lieu of rate increases),
  • traffic reduction measures, and
  • education, with any amendment of such ordinance subject to supermajority (5/7ths) City Commission approval?

This is basically a question of how you would like the city to spend the money it gets from renting public land to the company managing the hotel. The Herald reports that would be $16.6 million over 10 years.

If you vote yes, you are voting to limit the spending on hotel revenue to those three items in the city budget.  

If you vote no, the revenue from the hotel will go into the city’s general fund, where it could be potentially spent on things other than those outlined above.

The second referendum (Referendum 3) reads:

Should City lease 2.6 acre property at northeast corner of 17th Street and Convention Center Drive to MB Mixed Use Investment, LLC for 99 years, requiring, per Resolution 2018-30425:

Construction/operation of 800 room Hotel (maximum height of 185 feet), connected to Convention Center,

  • No City funding,
  • No gambling,
  • Rent to City after Hotel opens, including greater of: guaranteed rent ($16,616,242 over first ten years, adjusted thereafter), or percentage of Hotel’s revenues annually?

Here, the city is asking for voter approval to lease public land to MB Mixed Use Investment, LLC for 99 years so that the company can build a hotel on the property. That land is currently a lot next to the convention center.

If you vote yes, you are approving MB Mixed Use Investment, LLC as the lessee. The final design plan is still TBD, but you can read a little about it here.

If you vote no, the city will have to re-bid the project and give another company a chance at the property.

Approval requires 60 percent of the vote.