Portman-CMC Convention Center Plan Will Retain the Jackie Gleason Theater

Decision Result of Community Feedback; Plan Calls for Refurbishment Instead

Apr 24, 2013, 08:00 ET from Portman-CMC

MIAMI, April 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As a result of ongoing interaction and dialogue with residents and stakeholders of the Miami Beach community, Portman-CMC's  evolving master plan design for the Miami Beach Convention Center District will preserve the Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater. Portman-CMC has been selected by the City of Miami Beach to propose a development plan for the Miami Beach Convention Center District.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130424/FL00614)

"The Miami Beach community has been very vocal in public meetings, in the media and online. The residents made it clear that The Jackie Gleason Theater is an important landmark they want to keep. We listened, we heard, and we've found a way to adjust the master plan in order to keep the Theater in place while still achieving our other objectives, creating a win-win for all," said Jack Portman, vice chairman of Portman Holdings and John Portman & Associates.

Portman-CMC's plan will preserve the existing structure, making renovations that include:   

  • Technical upgrades and renovations to enhance production capability and quality of entertainment experience;
  • Programming that features existing entertainment options, such as concerts and comedy shows, offered by Live Nation (which will remain the primary operator) as well as other events to help increase the theater's utilization and provide the City with additional entertainment options. Cirque du Soleil will design a customized experience, specifically for Miami Beach, to be added to Live Nation's programming;
  • A Jukari facility, providing residents and visitors with a unique fitness-focused opportunity to learn gymnastic skills and train with Cirque du Soleil professionals;
  • Improvements to activate the new west facade, facing the square, with a new educational center for the performing arts—a training ground for music, dance, theater, and sports. In addition to keeping the existing concert programming, this element will honor Jackie Gleason by furthering the art of performance; and
  • Improvements to the ground floor, on all four sides, to expand the building's current accessibility, which is currently only on Washington Avenue, to interface with Soundscape Park, the convention center, and the new town square.

Portman-CMC's vision and overall approach to the Master Plan remains the same - maintaining low building heights, providing a high level of connectivity to surrounding areas, creating a superior urban environment for conventioneers and residents by focusing on public and outdoor spaces, and maximizing the economic benefit to the City of Miami Beach. To maintain the theater's existing structure, the layout of the convention center hotel will be adjusted. As previously proposed, the hotel will remain directly connected to the convention center with the main entrance on Washington Avenue. Guest rooms will now be adjacent to the south end of the convention center, maintaining a low-rise profile.  

"We have been working to identify a solution that would enable keeping the Jackie Gleason Theater while integrating it with our proposed Convention Center Square. We found a way to make the theater the southeastern gateway to the revitalized Convention Center neighborhood," said Bjarke Ingels, founding partner and creative director of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). "This change will keep the enhanced vitality and diversity of our square and further strengthen our core idea of creating a convention center that isn't isolated in vast empty spaces, as many convention centers tend to be, but rather nested in the heart of a real urban neighborhood. This is how successful communities are created—by allowing the right urban mixture to gradually evolve through public participation and collaboration."

Portman-CMC will continue its plans to honor the memory and legacy of Jackie Gleason. As previously proposed, a new statue of his likeness will be included in the master plan, as well as architectural features that pay tribute to his signature style.

More details on these upgrades will be unveiled when Portman-CMC presents its final master plan to the City of Miami Beach and the Miami Beach community in mid-May. Information about the meeting can be found at the City of Miami Beach's website

About Portman-CMC

The Portman-CMC team is one of two development groups currently bidding to develop the 52-acre Miami Beach Convention Center District. The team is comprised of top talent from Miami and many of the world's most qualified expert professionals, representing pioneers in their respective fields, including Portman Holdings, CMC Group, Bal Harbour Shops, Cirque du Soleil, BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group, John Portman & Associates, Fentress Architects, West 8 and Revuelta Architecture International. For more information, please visit www.PortmanCMCMiamiBeach.com.

As requested by the City, the development project calls for a renovation and expansion of the Miami Beach Convention Center; the addition of a multi-purpose space/ballroom; the addition of meeting space; a new convention center headquarters hotel; outdoor public spaces; parking; restaurants; entertainment.


Erin Mulholland   

Charlie Cinnamon

(305) 358-1446    

(305) 672-1324