Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition

Developer presents design for expanded center

- By Arlene Satchell Staff writer, Twitter @TheSatchre­port

Broward County’s convention center would get a gleaming glass addition, a hotel, an intermodal transporta­tion area and a plaza with open views of the Intracoast­al Waterway under a proposal to be considered next week.

Developer Matthews Southwest of Lewisville, Texas, will present the proposal to county commission­ers Tuesday.

“We have listened to the needs of the market and believe that our design is such that all stakeholde­rs will be proud and will provide a long-lasting, positive economic impact for Broward County,” David Snell, the company’s vice president of real estate, said in a letter submitting the proposal.

Matthews is the last developer under considerat­ion for the $550 million project, from an original slate of five developers initially qualified last August.

Commission­ers received a paper copy of the proposal about a week ago for review, said Alan Cohen, assistant to County Administra­tor Bertha Henry.

Cohen said commission­ers will evaluate whether the proposal “demonstrat­es [Matthews] ability to provide a quality product that meets the needs of Broward County” — just one of the steps in picking a developer.

After that, the county must sign off on final designs and complete contract negotiatio­ns, Cohen said.

Plans call for an approximat­ely 300,000-square-foot addition to the Greater Fort Lauderdale/ Broward County Convention Center and a 750- to 1,250-room hotel.

Matthews’ proposal calls for building a 1,000-room hotel between April 2018 and March 2020. The convention center expansion would be completed between July 2018 and March 2020.

The Texan company expects the county to select a project developer by May 31 and complete final negotiatio­ns by Dec. 6, according to its proposal. The design and permitting for the project would run from June 2016 through February 2018.

Overall, the project has a targeted opening for the third quarter of 2020.

In its proposal, Matthews states the project would require about a $90 million county subsidy to develop an 800-room hotel, and $130 million for a 1,000-room hotel.

Matthews’ experience includes more than $2 billion in developmen­t work in the last three years, according to the county. The company has two hotel projects under constructi­on as well as a new fourdiamon­d level headquarte­rs property with 1,001 rooms. It also developed a previous 300,000-squarefoot convention center expansion.

The list of developers was whittled down in November to two: Matthews and The Related Group. Related officially withdrew from considerat­ion in February, according to the county.

Early last year, the county completed the master planning for the project and began developing design criteria and standards.

In 2014, county commission­ers renewed efforts to push forward the convention center expansion and hotel project and began reviewing new design options after more than two decades and three failed efforts. The county is seeking a public-private partnershi­p with a developer that would provide all or some of the financing, design, constructi­on, operation and maintenanc­e of the hotel, as well as design and constructi­on.

 ?? COURTESY ?? Illustrati­on of an expanded Broward County convention center under developer Matthews Southwest’s proposal.
COURTESY Illustrati­on of an expanded Broward County convention center under developer Matthews Southwest’s proposal.

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