MDM Hotel Group is selling its Miami Worldcenter site for a long-planned convention center and hotel, citing the downturn in the meetings and convention business.
“It is undeniable that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the meetings and conventions market,” wrote Florencia Tabeni, MDM’s vice president of operations and development, in response to a Miami Herald query.
“This reality, coupled with the incredible demand for land in the urban core of the city, caused us to explore the possibility of selling the land designated for the development of the Marriott Marquis Miami Worldcenter Hotel & Expo Center. After evaluating numerous offers, ownership of MDM has made the decision to sell the parcel, and not move forward with development of the convention services hotel.”
A spokesman for Miami Worldcenter declined to comment on the sale or future plans for the site.
When it was first announced in 2006, Miami Worldcenter was seen as a risky foray into a mostly derelict section of Overtown. Participation by the highly regarded hotel developer and the Marriott Marquis brand gave gravitas to the 27-acre Miami Worldcenter, one of the nation’s largest urban development projects.
But time, downtown Miami’s exploding popularity and the pandemic have brought a reversal of fortunes.
Worldcenter’s location west of FTX Arena and just a block from the Brightline terminus have drawn deals for condos, rental apartments, offices, retail and hotels. The city-within-a-city is now home to the 550-unit Paramount Miami luxury condo tower and 400-plus unit Caoba rental apartments. Boutique hotel brands citizenM and Morgans, a division of Accor, have announced plans for the area. Offices, retail and additional residential are underway.
MDM purchased the 5-acre Overtown site — once home to the original Miami Arena — in 2017 for $45 million, announcing plans for a 600,000-square-foot expo center and 1,700 Marriott Marquis hotel. But construction had not yet begun when the pandemic hit in 2020. While leisure travelers are now swarming airports and hotels, the convention business is expected to lag for the foreseeable future.
MDM’s other holdings include JW Marriott Marquis Miami in downtown and its hotel-within-a-hotel, Beaux Arts Miami’ JW Marriott Miami; Miami Marriott Dadeland and the Courtyard Miami Dadeland.