Doral is growing up from a golfer’s oasis on Miami’s periphery to, fingers crossed, a bona fide urban center.

sculptural pavilion at Doral.
A rendering of renowned Miami artist Michele Oka Doner’s sculptural pavilion at the new Downtown Doral.

The trend this real estate cycle (or is it a boom?) is urban. Acutely aware of the gridlock, environmental risks, and isolating effects of Miami’s modern-day suburbs, developers are concentrating new construction in the urban cores: downtown Miami, the Beach, Biscayne Boulevard. And, very selectively, they’re creating one or two new urban centers where growth demands it. This is what is happening to Doral, Miami’s most burgeoning western suburb.

Not far from the Trump National Doral Miami, itself in the midst of a substantial remodeling by Donald Trump, two mixed-use developments by The Related Group and Codina Partners are introducing urbanism to Doral. Codina’s Downtown Doral includes a new City Hall, apartment buildings, townhouses in a city-block street layout, retail, and a public green space as its centerpiece, with a monumental pavilion meant to be an iconic symbol of the new Doral by one of Miami’s most important artists, Michele Oka Doner.

5252 Paseo
5252 Paseo, one of nine condominium buildings to go up in Downtown Doral.

“We started in Downtown Doral in 2004, and we had the vision since the city incorporated in 2003,” says Ana-Marie Codina Barlick, chief executive of Codina Partners and daughter of the company’s founder, Armando Codina. “In terms of commercial, we began developing in ‘airport west,’ before it became Doral, in 1989.” The City Hall, the park, the pavilion, and some of the residential stock are already complete. The 120-acre mega-project ranks among the biggest currently in development in Miami in terms of scope, scale, complexity, and cost—the $1 billion-plus price tag is comparable to Brickell CityCentre’s. When all is said and done, there will be 2,840 living units, including eight or nine condo towers alone, with about a million square feet of office space in four towers, not to mention the 180,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space organized around a pedestrian-oriented Main Street with more than 50 retailers and 20 restaurants.

The Related Group is also focusing its mixed-use CityPlace Doral around a central Main Street with over 300,000 square feet of retail. Renderings show a much more mall-like atmosphere, including two levels of shops, footbridges over roadways, and a movie theater, with 300 residential units, named CityPlace Flats, located above the retail. Roads have been laid out, and an adjacent project by Related called CityPlace Apartments is already under construction.

CityPlace Doral
CityPlace Doral will have over 300,000 square feet of retail.

Between Downtown Doral and CityPlace Doral lies another staple: the Trump National Doral Miami golf resort, and one of the resort’s five courses, the Great White Course. The Trump National, formerly known as the Doral Golf Resort & Spa, is in the middle of its massive $250 million transformation back into the over-the-top golfers paradise it once was. The Doral Golf Resort was in fact the birthplace of Doral; long before it was a city, it was a resort that the town grew up around. The name Doral itself is a portmanteau of Doris and Al, the names of the builder of the resort and his wife.

While the Great White Course may be part of the Trump National Doral Miami resort, neither Trump nor the resort is the owner. Currently being leased by the resort, the course is actually owned by the Sovereign Government of Singapore, and is expected to come to bid early this year with loads of suitors pining for the course’s 120 acres. Either way, it will surely be developed. While a large, unadulterated green space between two densifying urban districts seems a great place for what could be a beautiful park, the land might just be fated for development as business and residential.

Trump National Dora
BLT Prime’s veranda at Trump National Doral Miami gives a view of the golf course.

Downtown Doral and CityPlace Doral are far from the only new things being built in Doral at the moment. They’re not even the only major pedestrian-friendly developments. It’s their central locations in Doral, in close proximity to each other and to the golf resort, the highways, and even Miami International Airport, that make them stand out. There’s Optimus Developers’ Midtown Doral, which broke ground this December a few miles to the north on NW 74th Street and NW 107th Avenue, a pedestrian-oriented development of condominium units above a ground floor of over 200 retail spaces. Near Midtown Doral, the Terra Group is developing Modern Doral, a somewhat more traditional suburb with 319 detached modern houses in three gated communities.

Things have just gotten started at both Downtown Doral and Doral CityPlace. Massive residential is now finally arriving in a city that is a major employment base in Dade County, and urbanism is coming to the heart of suburbia. Much like the history of Miami itself, a resort is becoming a real city. The finish line is still a few years away, but with the substantial building projects of Downtown Doral and Doral CityPlace—and the investments they represent—Doral is getting there.

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