Miami is left with a taste for Hong Kong commercial development
Brickell City Centre is a sprawling shopping, dining, and residential complex that effectively brought Hong Kong-style business advancement to Miami’s financial district, and is now expected to extend to a fourth block. Swire Properties intends to plan with Miami for an extension of its owned land, and this would include two condo towers with one of them being a three-level retail base. The two towers would be connected to each other by new sky bridges.
The second tower, most likely to be pure “boutique” residential, would be created later. Besides, both towers will be in the triangular block where the legendary Tobacco Road bar once was, as well as the land that was formerly occupied by Associated Photo. To complete this, the famous River Oyster House would have to move elsewhere to make room for the new tower, which they, fortunately, agreed to do so.
“It’s really doubling down on your existing effort,” Bowers, the president of the Hong Kong Firm said. “It goes back to what the model is. The more critical mass you add, the more successful all the different elements are. We are really happy with the location. Commercially it’s been a success, so we’re looking to add more to it.”
Arquitectonica – a Miami-based worldwide group planned the entire expansion. If all is successful, city endorsement is expected before the end of the year so that construction can begin in 2020. By that time, Swire expects the new Brickell and downtown-area condos to be sold which will create a new demand for more units, and while sales have already been going steadily, 180 condos at Brickell City Centre still need to be sold. Unfortunately, condo units in greater downtown Miami are barely selling for $400 per square foot, but Swire is asking for around $700 per square foot – so this might cause a bit of an impasse.
Brickell City Centre opened in late 2016 along South Miami Avenue south of the Miami River with a new approach for Miami. It had a large underground parking garage and a network of sky bridges over city streets that link the three blocks of its three-level shopping mall. The complex has multiple sidewalk entries as a result of its open and welcoming design. The Architectural Digest even named it one of the world’s nine most beautiful malls last year. “There is a lot of positive appreciation for the fact that it brings a very different retail experience not just to Miami, but across the U.S.,” Bowers said. “It’s not like you feel forced to acquire while there. People just like to be there, and they acquire as they do that.”
Swire has even more plans for expansion and has already announced this. Swire owns a lot of the land just north and across Seventh Street, but that will be left alone and vacant for now as construction begins.