By Jai-Leen James, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – The Miami Beach Convention Center parking lot is getting repurposed into a 5.8-acre park. Miami Beach mayor Dan Gelber and city officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday, May 3rd.
The new park costs an estimated $9.2 million and is scheduled to be completed this October, city officials say.
Designed by Fentress Architects and West 8, the new public green space will feature 500 new trees. Additionally, there will be shaded walkways, lighted paths, a public restroom facility, veteran’s memorial and open green spaces. Critical Path is the general contractor leading construction.
International artists Elmgreen & Dragset are contributing to the cause with a public art installation. Miami Beach has allocated $7 million towards its Art in Public Places program.
“When you are a true arts and culture destination, two things happen: you attract sophisticated tourists and your residents have more interesting things to do,” Mayor Gelber said. “Using our entire city as a canvass improves our quality of life and provides wonderful amenities for our residents.”
Officials say that once construction wraps up, the total Convention Center campus will have over 1,300 trees and 580 new mangroves lining Collins Canal Park. The final project will have twelve total acres of green space, a 245 percent increase from the previous Convention Center campus layout.
The Miami Beach Convention Center recently had a $620 million makeover. Construction began in December 2015 and was completed three years later. Post-construction, MBCC features ten new meeting rooms, 263,000 square feet of new space and silver classification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Parking is available on the roof of the building.
“We now have a convention center that has a sense of place,” Bill Talbert, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, said about the renovation. “Before, it was a box and you looked out onto an asphalt parking lot. Now, you definitely know you’re in Miami Beach.”