Miami-Dade County has taken another step towards the much sought after deal to renovate and upgrade Miami International Airport. Despite lacking the Mayor’s endorsement, the process has been initiated that could see a deal for the first new hotel at MIA in 60+ years, starting in November.
With several commissioners nearing the end of their service, the airport is gaining attention as they try to leave a lasting legacy on the county. The expedited timeline would give the county a month to award the contract. Commissioners are directing staff to begin the 3-month bid request process. This would lead to a 30-day review in September.
The 15-year, $5 billion overhaul was approved last year. It requires all proposals to include a convention center, meeting room, and trade show space. But there is rising doubt in the value of these investments, as businesses have learned how to conduct business with limited air travel over the past few months. “There’s going to be a decrease in business travel, mark my words, as companies figure out it’s a heck of a lot less expensive to do [business remotely] than send someone to Miami,” Mayor Giménez said. “I don’t know what a hotel should be in a post-Covid-19 world.”
There are also politics at play, with previous agreements between Parmco, who owns a controlling interest in the hotel designs, and Oderbrect Construction Inc. becoming problematic. There are also debates about using the previously constructed plans to expedite the process. New directives do not preclude Parmco from participating.
Chairwoman Audrey Edmonson and Vice Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa agreed things are different now, in regards to air travel and necessity, but both noted that the county is only asking for offers.
“We’ve been trying to get something done for years,” Ms. Edmonson said. “If you find that things will change in the future, then we just don’t go through with it.”