Daily Archives: October 30, 2006

Is the CBD shifting to Brickell or Uptown? (Intro)


What is a CBD? Central Business District: generally an area of intense commercial development in the center of an urban area. The CBD as defined in a transportation study may differ from the census definition. In the case of
Miami, the CBD has always been in the Financial District where the Bank of America and Wachovia buildings reside. Now, with the dramatic influx of residential skyscrapers in the Financial District, the area is becoming less commercial and more residential. Within 3 years, residential and commercial skyscrapers will intermingle in a way that makes it difficult for the observer to employ the definition of a CBD as being mostly commercial.
So then, 3 years from now, how will one determine where the CBD lies? Well, in the case of
Miami, until a substantial commercial boom takes place, it is where there is the highest concentration of high rise density. Currently, the densest urban area remains the CBD. However,

Village is quickly coming into its own. Uptown, with several ambitious projects is not too far away from the CBD crown either. The only way to properly forecast where, or even if the CBD is shifting, is by gathering all the available existing and proposed building data and creating visual representations of the forecasted building density. This analysis will be continued…

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Building Profile: Onyx2 (Uptown-Edgewater)


UPDATE: Onyx2 lot, plans, and permits are for sale. The project is at a halt.

This 543 ft. cylindrical tower is nice to imagine looking at. One has to imagine because it currently doesn’t exist. Regardless, Onyx2’s design is visually stunning and downright well situated; in a neighborhood that it is helping define—the Edgewater area of Uptown. I must say that the ceilings are high, the glass is aplenty, and the shape is pleasant to the eye. With 49 floors, it is an important addition to the skyline. This building may have the significance that the Santa Maria had for Brickell, but in Uptown. Its aesthetic and material standards are high. Bermello, Ajamil, & Partners did an incredible job designing the building’s front. Yes, I said front; the side that faces the bay.


The devil’s advocate says: the rear side of the building, which faces the interior, resembles a vertical concrete highway. This was obviously designed to make it more cost effective to the developer, but does all the concrete have to be concentrated so obviously in the rear? It does not look good. It even blocks the view of the building’s crown. There is just a clear imbalance between the two sides of the building not just in material but in shape. One side is flat and plain with tons of concrete. The other side is cylindrical, unconventional, and glassy. Is it meant to contrast so greatly? Will it work? That is, for who? The residents of the building certainly won’t mind, but everyone in the interior will probably mind. The problem is that Onyx2 is 543 feet tall and will be seen from just about everywhere in Edgewater.


Putting the devil’s advocate argument aside, the building is a great leap forward for Miami and Uptown. I mean that through the standpoints of urban neighborhood development, city architecture, and the local economy. The building, along with several other key Edgewater projects, is serving as a catalyst for future Edgewater development progress. From the bay’s vantage point, the building will be among the most iconic and photogenic, and the city’s tax coffers will no doubt benefit from the tax revenues.


The floor plans are very well laid out. All units have bay views. The views are near panoramic; one of the benefits of the cylindrical design. The building’s amenities are various and above average for luxury condos.


Building amenities: Recreational deck, electronic garage access, two story lobby, valet parking high-speed wiring, wine cellar, 32 seat movie theatre, meeting room, Direct TV, fitness center, steam, sauna, and massage rooms, and 24 hour security and concierge service




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Filed under Residential Developments, Uptown: Edgewater

Building Profile: 500 Brickell (Brickell Village)

The 426 foot 500 Brickell tower complex is well situated, although not waterfront. The two rectangular towers are connected at the top with a bridge-like architectural structure with a large oval opening allowing in sunlight. Such a connecting architectural feature is exciting and novel by Miami Standards. It will create a great visual effect for the building’s residents on the amenities deck; a sense of inclusion in exclusivity and proportional grandness. The mostly residential complex is located in the northern portion of Brickell Village right on the west side of Brickell Avenue. The buildings will have glass balconies reducing the bleakness of concrete. There will be 20,000 sq. feet of retail space in the complex. Units range from 1 – 2 bedrooms with no half baths (927 – 1442 sq. ft.).

Pros: The property is ocated in a vibrant and growing already established neighborhood, so unlike Parkwest, Uptown, and even the CBD, there is no waiting for neighborhood stability. The developer is top caliber. There are plenty of built-in state-of-the-art unit features including touch screen technology. Although Brickell will not be fully exempt from traffic woes, the traffic should not be as bad as in the CBD or in and around the PAC.

Cons: There are 633 units in two 43 story towers. This is no small number of units. This building’s going to be crowded when fully occupied.

Expected amenities include: 24 hour security and valet, recreational deck with pool, and club room with billiards.

Unique amenities include: a 20-seat movie theatre, concierge services, I.R.I.S touch screen home technology, and wine cellar.

Overall the complex’s two towers will add more density to an area that is seeing a lot of major activity. Across the street, Jorge Perez is building 5 more major towers; the three Icon Brickell towers and the two Plaza towers—within a two square block area one can really sense the Related’s major influence with 7 towers. On the surface, the building is easily dismissed as ordinary, but with its crown connection at the building’s top, excessive glass facades, and tall stature, there may be more to it than meets the eye.

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Building Profile: 50 Biscayne (CBD)

The 549 foot ft. 50 biscayne is located in a very conspicuous spot right on Biscayne blvd. The One Biscayne Tower, once the tallest in Miami, is now going to be overshadowed by this new 54 floor neighbor. The building’s design is a simple rectangle. Jorge Perez hired Sieger-Suarez for the architecture and the Rockwell Group for the interior. It has a unique crown similar to Jade Brickell except involving color instead of steel and a somewhat different shape. La Salle Bank provided the financing. Unit amenities abound. Units come fully furnished.


Traffic aside, the building has an incredible location in the heart of the city, is located directly across from a beautiful city park, great bay front shopping, the AA Arena, proposed museums, and South Beach is 10 minutes away. This building is quite tall at 554 feet with 54 floors and is not over saturated with units. The three story lobby will certainly leave a good impression on all those who enter it. 15,000 sq. ft, of retail will help breathe life into the streets below and is a balanced amount for this scale a building. Buying from the Related Group, you know you can expect quality and timeliness. Stunning views for East side residents. It;s hard to put a value on it.


Its location right in the heart of the CBD guarantees plenty of traffic below. The building will also house a boutique hotel, which may in the future become somewhat of a nuisance to security and privacy starved residents. The Building makes use of color. I’m not sure if I like the psychedelic color scheme, but I respect the effort to make concrete more pleasant to look at. The ceiling heights could have been 9 feet for the tower residents, instead they are 8’8, which although ample, may indicate cost cutting by the developer.

Overall, 50 Biscayne is an excellent addition to the skyline and a welcome member of the CBD high rise club. 50 Biscayne and Everglades on the Bay are forming something of an urban skyline connection between Parkwest and the CBD. The Empire World Towers, 600 Biscayne and Paramount Park will close the gap. 50 Biscayne’s role is thus vital for the urban landscape. Currently, the CBD holds the urban density crown in Miami. Although Brickell is competing and Uptown has ambitious plans, buildings such as 50 Biscayne help keep the crown in place. In 5 years though, it will be interesting to see where the most density lies.







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Filed under CBD: Financial District, Residential Developments