Lately, I’ve been in the Uptown mood. Nothing against Brickell, the CBD, or South Beach, but like a true Miamian, I appreciate change. Although all of Miami’s urban neighborhoods are experiencing drastic change, Uptown’s is, well, different. As far as Miami’s urban development goes, things change rapidly. Neighborhoods flourish and take on new identities in brief periods of time. This is the story of Miami, but Uptown is the city’s latest intriguing chapter. Sure Brickell and the CBD have several spectacular towers planed and under construction. Some are individual standouts: Brickell on the River, Jade, 50 Biscayne, Marina Blue, etc. Others come in pairs: One Miami, 500 Brickell, Villa Magna, The Plaza, Axis, Epic. There are even trios: Icon Brickell and Brickell Citi Center. However, Uptown takes it to a higher level.
Uptown is home to the mega-project. This is loosely defined as a project that is larger than four phases (towers/major structures) bundled together within several adjoining acres. I’m referring to One Herald Square and City Square (10 acres and multiple towers), Midtown Miami (56 acres and 18 new city blocks), and Argent Venture’s massive and ambitious Omni redevelopment (6 towers on 12.5 acres). These projects stand apart. They are bigger, more expensive, riskier to develop, and therefore carry the heaviest weight of uncertainty. They also occupy the most urban space, affect their surroundings profoundly, and have the greatest economic impact.
They are the big ones. The mega-projects. Uptown has three. This will play as a major factor as time passes and Miami’s urbanism evolves. Uptown’s gravitational pull is getting stronger and these Mega-projects have yet to be built. The effects of their construction will be fascinating to observe and will spread far in all directions. The South Edgewater and the Media/Entertainment District neighborhood’s will stand to benefit the most due to close proximity to the Omni Redevelopment and Herald/City Square projects. Midtown Miami, the most expansive of the mega-projects, will have significant effects in the Design District, North Edgewater, and Wynwood. Uptown’s interior density will fill in more rapidly than its counterparts to the south. The area is a veritable blank canvas for development. Ripe for the pickings. The mega-projects change the equation. Uptown is measured differently because of them.