comparing the plans
Two teams vying to remake Miami Beach's 52-acre convention center district have produced broadly similar conceptual plans, but a look at six key elements reveals some clear differences.
See different plans
The convention center
Both plans expand and reconfigure the existing convention center and open it up with glass walls. ACE's has a smaller convention center footprint with more open park space to the north and south.
ACE plan: Moves the main entrance to the southwest corner, orienting the convention center toward a new public plaza, and beyond that to Lincoln Road Mall. Ballrooms with outdoor terraces are incorporated into the convention center on upper floors.
Portman plan: Keeps the main convention center entrances on the west side and adds a hotel entrance at Washington Avenue. The main ballroom is in a detached building that includes outdoor meeting space fronting a garden, with two minor ballrooms incorporated into the convention center.
ACE first proposed attaching the required 800-room hotel to the top of the convention center. Portman later adopted a similar idea, after nixing plans to demolish the nearby Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater to make room for its hotel.
ACE plan: The hotel, shown here from 17th Street, wraps around the convention center's southwest corner, rising gradually to a top height of 194 feet at the point. An expansive pool deck offers views of the Beach shoreline.
Portman plan: The hotel, seen here from Washington Avenue, wraps around the south end of the convention center, reaching a height of 124 feet at the eastern corner, lower than ACE's plan. The pool deck sits inside the square "U" frame of the hotel.
Each plan features a series of interconnected gardens and greenways, and a park at the north end.
ACE plan: The 5-acre park gradually rises 80 feet to meet the convention center roofline, concealing an underground parking garage and truck loading bays. Green space said to total 29 acres.
Portman plan: A 4.5-acre park at ground level is bisected by an extension of 20th Street, which leads vehicles into parking and loading bays within the convention center. Green space said to total 26 acres, including rooftops.
Both plans delineate a central outdoor space with restaurant and retail components meant to bring activity and connectivity to the site.
ACE plan: Places an open plaza at the convention center and hotel's main entrance, flanked by a half-moon-shaped food and beverage building, a 60-foot-tall cultural and exhibition building, and a revamped Gleason theater.
Portman plan: Creates a rectangular "Miami Beach Square" defined by the ballroom building, a 61,000-square-foot Latin American cultural museum and retail building, City Hall and the convention center. The square would be shaded by overhanging building corners and umbrella-like structures.
Both plans incorporate rental apartments in different locations along the edges of the district.
ACE plan: On Meridian Avenue, the plan puts 260 apartments in two 60-foot buildings and two 120-foot buildings. The taller buildings are pushed away from Meridian. Eighty more units on top of the 17th Street garage would be built later.
Portman plan: Along Washington Avenue, 200 units are built into the convention center's facade. On Meridian, the plan puts 100 apartments in four lower-scale buildings, each four stories. The buildings recede from the street towards the Holocaust Memorial.
Both plans downplay retail to avoid competition with Lincoln Road merchants.
ACE plan: Puts the bulk of its 60,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor of the 17th Street Garage. Another 40,000 square feet of restaurant space would go into the half-moon building.
Portman plan: Retail pavilions in the central square have planted green roofs that slope down to meet the ground. Additional retail goes into the 17th Street Garage, Gleason theater and cultural building. Portman says retail space totals 125,000 square feet.
In the sharpest contrast between the plans, ACE integrates ballrooms into the convention center, while Portman features a freestanding building.
ACE plan: A 60,000-square-foot ballroom adjacent to meeting rooms tops the northwest end of the convention center. Above it, a separate 40,000-square-foot ballroom can be divided into smaller spaces. Both have outdoor terraces.
Portman plan: A 60,000-square-foot ballroom occupies a separate two-story building that fronts the public square and convention center. Minor ballrooms are located in the main convention center building.
Jackie Gleason Theatre
Both plans strip away a 1980s facade to return the theater to its original Art Deco exterior.
ACE plan: Opens up the back of the theater to create an outdoor performance space. The adjacent cultural building provides covered seating in an amphitheater arrangement.
Portman plan: The back of the theater is converted to glass to provide views of back-of-the-house activity. Blank side walls are also opened up to provide entry and retail spaces. Cirque du Soleil will provide some programming.
Both plans feature angular "cultural" buildings between City Hall and the Gleason theater, though precise uses are yet to be specified.
ACE plan: Included a cultural building from the start, but a new design calls for a two-level, 18,000-square-foot exhibition gallery.
Portman plan: A 38,100-square-foot museum space is dedicated to Latin American culture. The building includes additional ground-floor retail, city office space and recording studios, for a total of 61,000-square feet.