Last updated: 01:30 PM ET, Wed March 16 2016

Voters Reject Miami Beach Convention Center Hotel Proposal

Hotel & Resort | Patrick Clarke | March 16, 2016

Voters Reject Miami Beach Convention Center Hotel Proposal

Rendering courtesy of the Miami Beach Convention Center

Much to the chagrin of local politicians and tourism officials, a proposal to construct an 800-room hotel at the Miami Beach Convention Center fell less than 1,000 votes short of approval Tuesday.

The Miami Herald reported the ground lease of public land failed to obtain the 60 percent of the vote necessary for approval in the convention center district.

More than half of voters (54 percent) sided with the proposal, but the side fell 989 votes short.

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The result is without question a disappointing one for Mayor Philip Levine and local tourism officials who pushed for the project amid a $600 million renovation and expansion of the Miami Beach Convention Center.

In a statement following the vote, Levine said "over the coming weeks, I will work with my colleagues to ensure that the will of the majority of Miami Beach voters is not silenced and that the progress we’ve made with our convention center corridor continues."

Developer Portman Holdings planned to privately finance the $400 million hotel. And if approved, the 25-story property would have been built adjacent to the convention center in a space currently comprising a parking lot and a city office building.

Prior to Tuesday's vote, Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau president and CEO William Talbert III called the hotel "a necessity." 

"We are making a major public investment in what would be a state-of-the-art convention center," he told the Herald. "But, in the marketplace today many of our competitors have one, two, three and somehow four adjacent headquarter hotels."

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While it appears Levine, Talbert and other project supporters aren't ready to give up, it remains to be seen what comes next. But based on Tuesday's vote, it seems a revamped proposal would have to call for a smaller development in order to succeed. 

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