After months in limbo, Miami-Dade County’s plan to build the first new hotel at Miami International Airport in six decades will advance this month through a second bid request phase meant to determine a winner among three development firms.
Miami-Dade will issue a “Phase II” request for proposals by the end of December, according to Aviation Department spokesman Greg Chin, who told Florida Politics responses will be due in early 2022.
“Once one of the firms is awarded the contract with approval by the Board of County Commissioners, the construction process is expected to take three and a half years,” he said by email.
The second RFP will mark the first significant step forward in nine months for the project, which the Miami-Dade Commission approved in 2019 as part of a $5 billion MIA overhaul. That ongoing initiative, set to unfold through 2035, includes plans for at least one — but likely two — new airport hotels: one east of the Dolphin Garage by the North Terminal, where the hotel in current contemplation is to go, and another central to all terminals.
Plans to build a new hotel at the hub date back far further and include a failed 2008 project by a U.S. subsidiary of Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht called Airport City, which envisioned a 33.5-acre business park with hotel, office and commercial space.
Parmco Airport Hospitality LLC, one of the three finalist firms to respond to the RFP Miami-Dade issued in October 2020, holds controlling interest in the hotel designs of that now-defunct project.
Parmco’s principals include investor-developer Darryl Parmenter and real estate economic adviser Paul Lambert. Lambert’s firm, Lambert Advisory, was part of the team that developed the Airport City hotel, the site for which is the same as the current location.
In April 2020, Miami-Dade Commissioners briefly considered entering exclusive talks with Parmco to fast-track the process, since the firm’s hotel designs are congruous with much of what Miami-Dade plans to build now.
They tossed that idea and drafted a new directive a month later after confirming Parmco’s agreement rights with the county, which Odebrecht previously held, weren’t competitively obtained.
The new directive did not keep Parmco from bidding on the new hotel plan, the proposals for which must include trade show, convention center and meeting room space.
Its competitors feature known names in the South Florida development community. One, FDR Miami Hotel LLC, lists the New York address of global real estate firm The Related Companies. The company’s founder and chair, billionaire Stephen Ross, also owns the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium.
The other firm, Mainsail Development International LLC, is a subsidiary of Tampa-based hotel development and operation company Mainsail Lodging and Development. Joe Collier, the company’s Miami-born founder and president, was the director of sales and marketing for Marriott Hotels from 1983 to 1998, when he launched his own company.
Miami-Dade shortlisted the three firms in March.
The existing Miami International Airport Hotel, built in 1959 in what is now Concourse E, is the only hotel located directly inside MIA. Having undergone renovation in 2015, it remains operational and in decent but deteriorating condition.
Problems listed in an August inspection report of the structure include a penetrated fire seal on the fourth floor, a chilled water pipe leak on the seventh floor and loose, spalled concrete and exposed, rusted rebar on the building’s exterior north side.