SoLe Mia Miami will include 4,390 residential units in 12 towers with opportunities for retail and entertainment when its completed.
From the rooftop aerie of the highly anticipated Sugar, the East,Miami Hotel’s restaurant in the almost-complete billion-dollar Brickell City Centre (BCC), which will include high-end retail, condos, offices, and the tallest building in Miami, you can easily see over to Brickell Key, another megaproject from the 1980s. Real estate developer Swire Properties Inc. built both.
Technically, however, Swire is still building both. There’s one development site left on Brickell Key, now used as a park, and the majority of BCC’s first, and largest, phase will be completed in December.
Big real estate developments with hundreds or thousands of new residential units such as BCC are nothing new in Miami. Today’s biggest projects are comparable in size to mega projects built decades ago, like Brickell Key and the Turnberry developments in Aventura, or eight decades ago, like the boomtowns of Coral Gables and Miami Beach. But one striking difference stands out: The projects being built today are more urban, more dynamic, and more vertical than anything that came before them. There are also a lot of them, with at least five active projects costing significantly over a billion dollars each, and many more costing only slightly less (for now). They represent a Miami that is graduating from being a horizontal, garden city with towers sprinkled around, to a metropolis. And they represent a Miami that, instead of growing out, is now mainly growing up.
Brickell City Centre will combine luxury living with high-end retail, offices, and a hotel.
There’s BCC of course, four blocks in the heart of Brickell that will eventually be a shopping mecca anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue, two residential towers of about 40 stories and 390 units each, an East,Miami Hotel tower, two mid-rise office towers, and a mixed-use 1,049-foot office, hotel, and residential tower fronting Brickell Avenue. The open-air mall will link all four blocks together via sky bridges, shaded by a high-tech trellis-like structure called a Climate Ribbon™ that makes the space feel like a contemporary crystal palace. The cost will be “well over a billion dollars,” according to Stephen Owens, president of Swire Properties Inc.
Just a few blocks north but in a decidedly different part of town, Miami Worldcenter, a $2 billion, 27-acre mega-project, is beginning construction in Downtown. It too will house a 765,000-square-foot shopping mall anchored by Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, a rooftop soccer field, an unannounced number of residential towers, a $750 million Marriott Marquis hotel with 1,800 rooms, and a convention center. The project’s flagship residential tower, Paramount Miami Worldcenter, will have 470 units and connect to the mall, using the mall’s massive roof as Miami’s largest amenity deck.
How will these thousands of people get to and from Downtown and Brickell? Well, cars, probably. But just in case, All Aboard Florida, the private intercity passenger rail service soon coming to the old tracks of the Florida East Coast Railway—reviving the same railroad that built early Miami—will be in service and it, too, will have mixed-use developments surrounding each of its three South Florida stations, particularly the Miami terminus, called Miami Central Station, which will be topped by three towers containing rental apartments and offices with a fourth, 1,000-footer just to the south. Miami Central Station is the city’s version of New York’s Grand Central Station, a monumental centerpiece to a massive real estate development. The total cost here? $3 billion.
Just up the road, The Related Group is building a complex of four condominium towers of about 54 stories each in Edgewater called Paraiso, which will also have interiors by Piero Lissoni and Karim Rashid, a bay-front pavilion housing a restaurant and private club, and a park. It’s currently under construction. According to Carlos Rosso, president of The Related Group’s condo-development division, the total costs at Paraiso will exceed “$1 billion, probably closer to $1.2 billion.”
Two prominent development families, the Soffers of Miami, owners of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach and Aventura Mall, and the LeFraks of New York and the eponymous LeFrak City, are building another city-size development in North Miami called SoLe Mia Miami, which will have 4,390 residential units in 12 towers, along with retail, two swimmable lakes, a park, a gourmet grocery store, and even a bowling alley.
“With Miami traffic getting worse, it’s more important that people are able to stay in their communities.” —Jackie Soffer
“We will have certain retailers that the community is missing, certain uses that are missing,” says Jackie Soffer, co-chairman and co-CEO of Turnberry Associates, and developer of the project. “With Miami traffic getting worse, it’s more important that people are able to stay in their communities. It will have everything.”
SoLe Mia is at the 183-acre former Biscayne Landing site which is “the largest piece of land that a developer can build east of I-95,” says Soffer. The project just broke ground on infrastructural work and is hovering in the $4 billion price range.
Not to be discounted, out in Sunrise, Metropica, a 65-acre small city, featuring at least eight towers, is being developed across the street from Sawgrass Mills Mall and is clocking in at $1 billion. The money will be well spent as international design powerhouse Yoo Studio and starchitect Chad Oppenheim are bringing their talents to Broward County.