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:
- Jade Brickell 161m 2004
- One Miami East 137m 2005
- Blue 130m 2005
- Vue 129m 2004
- One Broadway 126m 2005
- The Club 125m 2004
- Brickell on the River 147m 2006
- Skyline 115m 2004
- Neo Vertika 112m 2006
- One Miami West 137m 2005
- The Loft Downtown 84m 2006
- Emerald Brickell 82m 2006
- New Wave 73m 2006
- Platinum Condo 69m 2006
- Brickell Vista 47m 2005
- Carbonell 2005
- The Courts 2002
- The Sail 2006
- Solaris 2006
- Biscayne Plaza 2005
- Neo River Lofts 2003
- Cite 2004
- The Roads at 2006
- Midtown Lofts 2006
Now let’s look at office/hotel towers built during the same period:
- Espirito Santo Plaza (148m) 2004
- Miami-Dade County administrative building 2006
- 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:
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′:
- Brickell Financial Center
- Latitude One
- Met 2
- 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.