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Miami-Dade mayor on Beach convention center: 'Let's just get it done'


Carlos Gimenez has long cited renovating the Miami Beach Convention Center as one of his priorities as Miami-Dade County mayor -- even though the heavy lifting falls to the city.

He said Thursday his position has not changed, despite a new city administration scuttling the latest $1 billion renovation plans this week.

"It's a priority, and I'm going to have lunch with Mayor [Philip] Levine and the manager, and find out what their process is," Gimenez said. "I read some of the things that they said, that they can actually speed up the process."

Levine has said starting over on the project in smaller chunks (one for the convention center and one for a nearby hotel) could get the remodeling completed more quickly.

"We need a revamped, renovated, first-class convention center," Gimenez added. "And it does affect our economy. It does affect our tourism ... So I want to speak to them and see what their path is going to be, and do everything that I can and give as much county support to getting that project done."

Gimenez said he is not worried -- yet -- that continued delays to the renovation could bring fewer conventions and, as a result, fewer convention development taxes coveted by local government.

"It could be affecting development taxes in the future, because as these conventions are booked a year or two out, I already know that at least one or two conventions haven't come because of the antiquated state of the convention center," he said. "And so it's very important for us to really renovate that convention center. And I think the mayor understands that. He just wasn't in favor of that particular process.

"Let's just get it done and hopefully have some kind of a hotel component, either with it or somewhere close by."