Fairs USA

‘Art Basel will stay in Miami,’ director says

Rumours about a move to California had been fuelled by uncertainty over the rebuilding of the convention center

Marc Spiegler

The director of Art Basel, Marc Spiegler (right), has dispelled rumours that the fair’s organisers are considering a move to California. The speculation has been fuelled by uncertainty over the rebuilding of the Miami Beach Convention Center. “There was a time over the summer when it was unclear who would be chosen [for the project] and how they would do the reconstruction,” Spiegler says. “At that point, we explored our options.” In November, he hosted a VIP event in San Francisco and toured the city’s convention facilities.

Spiegler says he was reassured after speaking to South Beach ACE, whose partners include the New York-based development company Tishman and the Dutch architecture firm OMA (led by the architect Rem Koolhaas). The group was chosen by Miami Beach’s City Commission earlier this year to redevelop the 52-acre Convention Center site, with new exhibition halls, a hotel and loading and parking facilities hidden underneath a new park.

Spiegler says that there is now no need to consider moving the fair because the developer intends to phase construction so that the event can continue to take place smoothly each December.

The reconstruction, however, has recently stalled amid a political debate over its future. Spiegler says that Art Basel can continue to operate in the Convention Center without a rebuild, but that he hopes to see a “major revamp” of the building.

“The city remains committed to building a first-class convention centre to enable us to retain shows such as Art Basel and attract new shows such as Maison & Objet [a French design fair due to launch in the city in May 2015],” says Jimmy Morales, the city manager of Miami Beach.

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