What separates one high-rise from another? Well, many things. The design. The building features. The height. However, one factor is all too often overlooked: the building’s iconic value. Now this begs the question of what iconic value is. Iconic value is a way of measuring how easily recognized a building is. Recognized by who you ask? Well, everyone; residents of Miami and visitors alike. It is important to realize that a building’s actual value is not ever dependant upon but always somewhat reliant upon it’s iconic value.In the case of Jorge Perez’s Icon South Beach, the name of his project exemplifies the importance of iconic value best. He named the project thus because he knew that it’s highly conspicuous location would make the building an urban icon. So successful was the project that he has endeavored to create Icon Brickell—a monolithic three-tower development, which shares a similarly conspicuous location to it’s South Beach counterpart, at the southern entrance to the Miami River.
Residents of all developments want to feel like they are living an exclusive lifestyle, far apart and above the rest. Most building amenities and features seem offer such exclusivity, but there is a big difference between your building being blocked by others or standing among many, and your building being situated in an obviously conspicuous position. Icon South Beach is located right on the south side of the Macarthur Causeway at the 5th street entrance to South Beach. Everyone entering the beach will see it to their immediate right. For many first time visitors the building will be part of their first impression of South Beach. Consequently, film’s in Miami and any media attention is likely to include images of the more highly conspicuous buildings. The developers of Blue also realized the importance of iconic value when they picked out and purchased the land used for Blue. Blue probably has the best iconic value of any building in Miami right now. Towering over a highway below, it is located the western end of the Julia Tuttle causeway. Everyone exiting or heading towards the beach will definitely notice and probably be impressed by Blue.
Iconic value is not exclusive to highly conspicuous properties. All high-rises will have some type of exposure to people, but most fall short of being an urban icon. For a building to have iconic value it has to satisfy at least two of several conditions:
1. A Conspicuous Location—on the bay, near the entrance or exit of major highway, on the Miami River, etc.
2. Must be Tall—The taller the better, at least 25 floors if situated conspicuously—like Bentley on the Bay (South Beach), otherwise it must be a minimum of 35 floors. Definitely, it can’t be a mid-rise
3. Must Have a Unique Design—the façade of the building must be different and either aesthetically harmonious or forward-thinking.
4. Evening Façade Lighting—An illuminated spire or façade can go great lengths towards attaining iconic value for a structure. Take the Bank of America building or Espirito Santo building, for example, which are two of the most recognizable buildings in the city. Towers such as Vue, in Brickell, and the Waverly South Beach have also benefited from such lighting, and they certainly will not be the last to do so. Lit up towers in Miami is a trend that will remain, expand, and define this great city’s future skyline at night.
Importantly, as a building resident, it feels good to see your tower lit up at night from afar, or to know that everyone entering and exiting your city will see your tower first or last. It is nice to see your towers reflection on the bay. But must important of all, it is easier to sell these units, and it is much more satisfying to buy one of them. Iconic value is the hidden gem of the high-density residential real estate market, and one should make sure to not disregard it.