By many accounts, the Great Recession is hardly over. With rising unemployment rates throughout Europe and continued stalled economic growth throughout the Western World, the global economy is still trying to recuperate from the excesses of the 2000s. The years between roughly 2002 to 2008 brought a massive building boom to Miami, particularly the Downtown and Brickell neighborhoods. Between these years, 48 skyscrapers (buildings taller than 400-feet or 120 meters) were built. These new towers completely altered the Miami skyline, giving it the title of “America’s third-largest skyline.” These skyscrapers also increased the Downtown area’s population by 30,000 people, growing from 39,176 people in 2000 to 71,000 in 2010.
This increase in population has brought renewed life to Miami’s inner city neighborhoods that had been abandoned since the 1960s for suburbs further away. Brickell, the neighborhood south of Downtown, is now one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods. Traditionally known as the city’s financial district, awake from only 9am to 5pm, Brickell is now alive all night with numerous bars, restaurants, cafés and lounges. The building boom of the 2000s brought many foreclosures and bankruptcies, but it also brought a renewed city center that Miamians hadn’t seen since the 1950s.
The construction boom ended around 2007/2008. Around this time, the final residential skyscrapers were being completed. Three additional high-rises continued construction during the Great Recession; three office buildings- 1450 Brickell, Wells Fargo Center (Met 2) and Brickell Financial Centre I. Now in 2012, it looks like the building boom is back. Ten new high-rises are currently under construction or proposed to break ground by the end of 2012. The residential projects alone would add 3,255 residential units to the greater Downtown area, which equates to a population increase of over 6,510, when considering most residences are occupied by at least two people.
Every project incorporates street retail which will add to the neighborhood’s everyday urban life. The street level of every building is arguably the most important element in each of these projects. Without a good street level that is pedestrian-friendly and encourages walkability, Miami’s neighborhoods will remain a car-oriented environment. Below are summaries of the future skyscrapers.
Synopsis of new projects:
382 condominiums with ground-floor retail (presumably a Maserati-inspired tenant). 1100 Millecento is being built at 1100 S Miami Avenue in Brickell’s burgeoning South Miami Avenue, a street that has seen its nightlife popularity skyrocket in the past couple years. This building will have 42 floors giving it a height of 418 feet (127 meters).
1101 Brickell was originally proposed before the economic crash but has miraculously been revived. If built, 1101 Brickell would be the tallest building in Miami and Florida with 80 floors totaling 849 feet (259 meters). Miami’s current tallest is the Four Seasons Tower at 787 feet (240 meters). 1101 Brickell consists of 724 condominiums with ground-floor retail. Although billed as 1101 Brickell with an address at 1101 Brickell Avenue, this tower’s façade faces the quiet, residential street of Brickell Bay Drive. Ground floor retail at 1101 Brickell could help activate this quiet area of Brickell.
Brickell House was one of the first towers to be proposed after the economic crash. This tower will have 46 floors totaling about 500 feet (152 meters) at 1330 Brickell Bay Drive. Located a block from Biscayne Bay, this building will include 374 ultra-luxurious condominiums with a unique, automated parking system.
Brickell CitiCentre is the most talked project in the city. CitiCentre is being developed by the same company that built up all of Brickell Key to the east of the Brickell neighborhood. This project will include a massive 520,000 square feet of retail that will allow Miami’s inner city to compete for shoppers with the popular suburban shopping malls of Aventura, Dadeland and Sawgrass. Brickell and Downtown have many restaurants and bars, but few stores, so this project is expected to fill a major void in the urban fabric of the city. CitiCentre will also include 893 residential units and 243 hotel rooms. All of this is part of the project’s first phase which is currently under construction. A second phase would add the final component of the project, the 634 foot (193 meters) office tower next to the existing Metromover station on the site.
Located at 900 SW 1st Avenue, this is the newest of the proposed projects. This project was previously known as “Sky Palace at Mary Brickell Village” and has had numerous false starts. This time, however, the project has a new owner that states construction will begin in September 2012. enV will be built over the Publix parking garage at Mary Brickell Village. This project is the only proposed apartment building and will include 390 units with 35 floors.
Of all the newest proposed projects in the city, this is the only project that is proposed outside of the Brickell neighborhood. Icon Bay is being built in the Edgewater neighborhood, with, as the name implies, amazing views of Biscayne Bay. Icon Bay will have 300 condominiums with 42 floors. An element of this project that is questionable is that the City of Miami has approved to vacate the bay end of NE 28th Street so the developer (Related Group) may build the tower upon it. In return, the city is supposed to get a public, bayfront park. Knowing how things really work out in Miami, it seems this public park may in turn just become a highly-guarded, isolated park for residents of Icon Bay. One would like to hope otherwise, but we will see.
myBrickell was the first high-rise to break ground since the economic crash and is being built by the same developers that built neighboring 500 Brickell. Therefore, parking at myBrickell will be within 500 Brickell’s large garage, so this project’s short height is due to the fact that it is being built with no parking. Residential towers with no parking has been done in the past, but it’s not particularly commonplace. Two towers, both built by Related Group, were built without parking (Loft 1 and Loft 2, both in Downtown). Those two buildings were very successful and today boost high occupancy rates. A Loft 3 and Loft 4 were proposed during the building boom, but those projects were eventually cancelled and scrapped due to the economic crash. myBrickell will have 190 condominiums with ground floor retail. The building will be 326 feet (100 meters) high with 34 floors.
- Metro Atlantic, October 2012: Miami’s future skyscrapers, Part II