Florida International University recently announced its plans for adding a $59 million hotel and conference center. The school’s ambitious goals are to attract researchers, conventions and new visitors to western Miami-Dade County.
The University, which has an estimated 56,000 students on campus, is anticipating a construction start date in March 2018. The initial stage of the project would occur on the northwest corner of FIU’s main campus on Southwest Eighth Street, near Florida’s Turnpike.
The target completion date is estimated for June 2019. The new, upscale 150-room hotel and convention center would include a restaurant, fitness center, pool, and conference area.
At this time, the rooms are expected to rent for around $150 and up per night.
FIU’s hotel would be the first university-affiliated hotel in South Florida. The University of Florida in Gainesville has a hotel and conference center, and the University of Central Florida in Orlando has plans to open one in 2018.
The crowning jewel of the expansion could be the proposed $8 million, 14,000-square-foot alumni center which would be housed in a separate building on the university’s property.
FIU, along with The University of Central Florida, have the largest average class sizes in the Florida university system. FIU’s president, President Mark Rosenberg, when interviewed about the need for expansion, said, “It’s not about size. It’s about access for eligible students.”
The Florida Board of Governors makes policy for state universities and must approve all plans.
University officials insist that the project isn’t risky for the university. A public-private partnership with Arizona-based Concord Benchmark LLC, would assure the build, and Coral Springs-based Benchmark Management Company would handle the day-to-day operations.
The university wrote that they, “will have no financial obligation to support the hotel or conference center operations or debt obligations.”