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The Fillmore Is Saved: New Convention Center Deals Will Keep Jackie Gleason Theater

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When Portman-CMC, one of two finalists for a billion-dollar Miami Beach Convention Center renovation, unveiled plans to raze the historic Jackie Gleason Theater and replace it with a hotel, residents were not shy about slamming the idea. More than 1,200 people signed on to a "Save the Fillmore" Facebook petition and flooded public meetings to argue that Miami's best mid-sized concert venue would die with the historic property.

The developers paid attention. Last night, Portman announced a new proposal to keep the Fillmore in place.

"The Miami Beach community has been very vocal in public meetings, in the media and online," Jack Portman, vice chairman of Portman Holdings, says in a statement. "We listened ... and we've found a way to adjust the master plan in order to keep the Theater in place."

Portman's remaining competitor for the convention center project, South Beach ACE, had already submitted a proposal that would have retained the Jackie Gleason Theater.

That means -- barring any major changes before the end of the bidding process in June -- that the Fillmore is saved no matter which team wins the bid.

That doesn't mean there's nothing at stake for the theater between the two bids, which picture strikingly different visions for the building where Jackie Gleason once filmed his national TV show.

ACE's proposal would involve restoring the building's historic features and creating an open-air theater behind the building. They'd build a hotel on the site of the convention center.

Portman's new plan, meanwhile, would include a partnership with Cirque du Soleil, which would create a Miami Beach-specific show and would build a "Jukari" facility where residents could learn gymnastics. LiveNation would stay on board for concerts, as well. 

They also released this rendering of changes to the facade and added access to the New World Symphony's SoundScape Park across the street:

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