While the 2008 crisis hit hard across the nation and especially in South Florida, it may have actually helped Miami’s economy in the long run. Back then, savvy, deep-pocketed developers—many from Asia and Brazil—bought acres of property along the southern sections of the Biscayne Corridor for low prices, and now they’re returning to invest billions in shopping mall and luxurious high-rise condo construction. This influx of foreign money might be what Miami needs to finally achieve the cosmopolitan metropolis status it’s been craving for years.
This project might yield Miami’s own interpretation of New York’s Rockefeller Center, smack in the middle of downtown. Swire Properties, the subsidiary of a eminent domain Hong Kong-based firm behind the development of Brickell Key, will invest $700 million to erect a roughly 4.68-million-square-foot mixed-use facility featuring 800 residential units in two high-rise towers, offices, retail outlets, nightclubs and a hotel. Construction will take place on four partially vacant blocks along South Miami Avenue just below the Miami River, and might begin as early as next year. The project is estimated to take a total of four years to complete, according to plans submitted to the city. The mega-complex will include two underground levels devoted to parking, and will promote on-foot visitation via a people-mover system.
A rendering of the forthcoming Brickell Citicentre
1700 Biscayne Blvd.
Not to be left behind in recent urbanization plans, the Omni District (just north of downtown) has its own $726 million development underway, to be named for the address it occupies. The company behind the project, Midgard Management, already has approval from the city to begin construction later this year on a three-tower project housing 672 condo units, 505 hotel rooms, 181,183 square feet of commercial/retail space and 1,507 parking spaces. The high-rises are estimated to reach a maximum of 55 stories, and apartments are expected to list at around $400,000. Prospective tenants can expect a 2015 move-in date.
Entertainment Block at Midtown
To add to the shopping center, restaurants and trendy boutiques that have sprouted up along 36th Street and North Miami Avenue in recent years, New York-based developer and a Midtown Equities principal Jack Cayre is planning a $60 million entertainment center. Deborah Samuel, director of operations at Midtown Equities, says the roughly 300,000-square-foot venture will comprise a 200-room boutique hotel, a 12-screen movie theater and ample retail space. She adds that the complex will be unnamed: “As when something interesting opens up in [New York’s] Soho or Tribeca, it’s not really called a mall or anything; it’s just another interesting component of that area. One of the things I like best about Midtown is that it doesn’t feel contrived…. it feels like a neighborhood that’s just evolving.” Construction may begin as early as next year and will take about 18 months to complete.