The Scales of Urban Development (PT. II)

Continued from Part I

Miami’s High Density Development Imbalance

In the previous installment, it was mentioned that a typical urban core’s tallest high rises are usually commercial/office. Denver, Seattle, and Philadelphia’s tallest fifty existing towers were considered and, on average, about 1/5 of them were residential. In Miami, however, it is over half–we’re talking existing structures here. To further tip the scales of development in favor of the residential side, there are numerous more residential developments under construction and approved for construction in the pipeline.

Let’s consider Miami’s residential tower list for major high rises completed after the year 2002 up to 2006:

  1. Jade Brickell 161m 2004
  2. One Miami East 137m 2005
  3. Blue 130m 2005
  4. Vue 129m 2004
  5. One Broadway 126m 2005
  6. The Club 125m 2004
  7. Brickell on the River 147m 2006
  8. Skyline 115m 2004
  9. Neo Vertika 112m 2006
  10. One Miami West 137m 2005
  11. The Loft Downtown 84m 2006
  12. Emerald Brickell 82m 2006
  13. New Wave 73m 2006
  14. Platinum Condo 69m 2006
  15. Brickell Vista 47m 2005
  16. Carbonell 2005
  17. The Courts 2002
  18. The Sail 2006
  19. Solaris 2006
  20. Biscayne Plaza 2005
  21. Neo River Lofts 2003
  22. Cite 2004
  23. The Roads at 2006
  24. Midtown Lofts 2006

Now let’s look at office/hotel towers built during the same period:

  1. Espirito Santo Plaza (148m) 2004
  2. Miami-Dade County administrative building 2006
  3. Four Seasons 240m 2003

Other than there being a significantly lower number of commericial/hotel developments than residential, the 4 Seasons and Espirito Santo also have residential components. The administrative building, located in East Overtown near the Miami Arena, is a government office building. It’s safe to say that major high rise commercial development was borderline non-existent between 02′ and 06′.

Now let’s consider what has been built or is under construction for 2007:

  • Marina Blue 187 m 2007
  • Plaza on Brickell Tower 186m 2007
  • Ten Museum Park 178m 2007
  • 50 Biscayne 169m 2007
  • Quantum South 169m 2007
  • Opera tower 166m 2007
  • Quantum North 163m 2007
  • Plaza Brickell 160m 2007
  • Wind 153m 2007
  • Asia 147m 2007
  • Avenue Brickell 146m 2007
  • Latitude on the River 145m 2007
  • Tower Two Midtown 98m 2007
  • Onyx 94m 2007
  • Brickell on the River South 129m
  • Ivy 156m
  • Mint 192m
  • Icon Brickell North 179m
  • Icon Brickell South 179m
  • Viceroy at Icon Brickell 142m
  • Infinity I 192m
  • Marquis 207m
  • 900 Biscayne 217m
  • Lofts Downtown II 132m
  • Everglades on the Bay 164m
  • Paramount on the Bay 151m
  • Midtown Four
  • The year 2007’s high density residential development surpasses that of the previous 2002 through 2006 date range. If there was an imbalance between residential and commercial before, the 2007 list makes it a significant imbalance.

    Now let’s consider office/hotel development that are seeing construction activity in 07′:

    1. Brickell Financial Center
    2. Latitude One
    3. Met 2
    4. 1450 Brickell

    There are additional approved proposals but until construction begins they shouldn’t be considered. The scales remain heavy on the residential side. In order to further highlight the uniqueness of this residential-heavy development situation, let’s consider the tallest fifty of two more major American cities and three international cities.

    • In Houston, of the tallest fifty towers in urban core, only six of them are residential.
    • In Chicago, of the Windy City’s tallest fifty high rises, a total of fourteen are residential.
    • Sao Paulo, Brazil has only ten residential towers in their tallest fifty.
    • Sydney, Australia also has fourteen residential towers in the tallest fifty.
    • Hong Kong has 18 multi tower residential towers in the tallest fifty. By far, HK is the most similar to Miami in the proportion of Residential and Office/Hotel towers in the top fifty.
    • In Miami, twenty-seven of the tallest fifty existing buildings are residential.

    Image: Hong Kong Harbor

    As you can see, of the major urban centers used as examples, the office/hotel use dominates among the tallest fifty towers, but in Miami, the residential use dominates. And the trend continues to tilt in favor of residential. There are 25 more major residential towers that are currently under construction and unoccupied will soon have to be added to the scales.

    What are the implications of such anomalous circumstances? Is Miami’s urban core becoming the stage for a revolution in vertical residential development? Why is there such an imbalance for high density residential versus commercial development? Is the market simply unappealing to office development or is the status quo a prelude to a surge in office development? As of late, there has been a notable pick up in commercial development that might be a hint of what’s to come.

    There are many questions, but one thing is clear, the scales of development are significantly one-sided right now, and Miami’s urban core composition is incomparable to that of most other major urban centers.



    Filed under BoB Articles

    3 responses to “The Scales of Urban Development (PT. II)

    1. pakio

      How do the top 50 in Vancouver, British Columbia compare to Miami?

    2. According to, 23 of the tallest fifty in Vancouver are residential. The most comparable to Miami I’ve seen yet. Miami’s residential tower height averages are more impressive though.

    3. eaglemat

      This could have easily been “bust,” and for a while it was. Miami’s saving grace: its appeal to Brazilian investors. In the past fiscal year, the Brazilian Real has enjoyed strong growth while the US Dollar tanked. Miami has drawn a significant number of Brazilian investors/residents, and occupancy in many of the residential buildings you’ve listed is around 85-90%.
      Great article, thanks!

    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

    You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


    Connecting to %s