April 1, 2015

Development in Miami-Dade

Miami-Dade: Big Bet on Brickell

Swire's downtown Miami project rendering
Rendering of Swire's $700-million mixed-use project in downtown Miami.

It may take years for Miami to fully recover from the recession, but one large multinational developer is betting on the city's future with a 9.1-acre, nearly $700-million mixed-use real estate development. Hong Kong-based Swire Properties, which developed and still owns most of Brickell Key, in May received preliminary city approvals for the development in downtown Miami's Brickell Financial District.

The first phase of Brickell CitiCentre would contain 500,000 square feet of retail shops and restaurants, a 290-room hotel, two office towers and a 270-unit apartment or condominium tower. Swire plans at least one department store anchor and a mix of moderate and luxury national and international retailers, but no "big box" stores.

Downtown Miami finally has the dense 24-hour population, the right income, and the business tourists for this type of retail, says Stephen Bittel, CEO of Miami Beach-based Terranova, a commercial real estate advisory and investment company. But Swire will have to get all the details right — from parking accessibility to the mix of anchor tenants and restaurants, he says.

Swire, Bittel notes, "has the balance sheet to back up their dreams." The conservative company, which says it has enough cash to self-finance the project if it chooses, sat out most of Miami's recent real estate boom. It began assembling parcels for this project in late 2008, spending around $68 million.

The project, the first large-scale one that complies with the city's new
Miami 21 zoning code, could receive final approvals in as little as two months. Construction could begin by the end of this year, and the first phase would be built over four years.

Tags: Miami-Dade, Housing/Construction

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