Monthly Archives: November 2007

Is Miami Home to the Most Foreign-Born Residents?

Technically, no. That unique distinction is reserved for Sweetwater, FL. Although in Miami-Dade County, City-Data (the source of the list) factors it in as an independent municipality. This is the same for all municipalities within Miami-Dade. In Fact, in the City-Data U.S. Top 100 list of Cities with the Highest Percentage of Foreign Born Residents, the City of Miami ranks fifteenth. Let’s take a look at the top twenty:

  • Sweetwater, Florida (74.9%)
  • Fountainbleau, Florida (73.0%)
  • Hialeah, Florida (72.1%)
  • Hialeah Gardens, Florida (69.9%)
  • Westchester, Florida (69.0%)
  • West Miami, Florida (68.9%)
  • University Park, Florida (66.5%)
  • Chamblee, Georgia (66.1%)
  • Coral Terrace, Florida (66.1%)
  • Tamiami, Florida (65.4%)
  • West New York, New Jersey (65.2%)
  • Langley Park, Maryland (64.5%)
  • Doral, Florida (62.8%)
  • Seven Corners, Virginia (61.2%)
  • Miami, Florida (59.5%)
  • Mecca, California (59.4%)
  • Kendall West, Florida (59.3%)
  • Olympia Heights, Florida (58.9%)
  • Kendale Lakes, Florida (58.8%)
  • Union City, New Jersey (58.7%)
  • Fourteen of the United States’ top twenty cities (pop. 5,000+) with the most foreign-born residents are part of Miami’s metropolitan area. Not only does Miami, as a metropolitan area, top the U.S. list, but dominates it. Actually, Miami tops the world’s list–ahead of Toronto and L.A. Although this isn’t exactly breaking news, seeing how City-Data further breaks down the foreign-born list really highlights Miami-Dade County’s unique demographics.


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    Protecting the Urban Development Boundary

    The information below was sent to me by Dawn Sheriffs of Urban sprawl strikes again! In 2006, with your help the Hold the Line successfully kept the Urban Development Boundary (UDB) from being moved west into Florida’s Everglades to accommodate sprawling development that would strain Miami-Dade’s already backlogged infrastructure.

    Four new pending applications have been filed to open another 178 acres of Miami-Dade to development outside the line. An additional application is expected that seeks to add another 7,000 residential homes to the county’s roads, schools, and utilities increasing both traffic and pollution.

    Empty chambers at community council meetings lead to only 1 out of the 4 applications being recommended for denial.

    Miami-Dade’s citizens can’t afford to pave wetlands and permit new developments that will draw from our already taxed water supply and jeopardize the Everglades.

    We are asking anyone who is able to attend to show up at the Miami-Dade County Commission hearing on Tuesday, November 27, 2007 and show your support!. For those who cannot be there, please visit to complete an “action alert” asking your Commissioner to protect the Urban Development Boundary.


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    Commercial Development Outook: Central Business District

    Using the latest DDA Development Activity Report, I created the chart below. It represents commercial space that has been built since 2002, current active construction, and commercial projects that have been approved but remain inactive.

    Chart: Derived from the DDA Development Activity report, the chart above, which is separated by retail and office use, represents new commercial space added to the market since 2002, current construction, and approved but inactive commercial development.

    As is the case with Brickell Village, 2008-09 represents a significant hike in new commercial space for the CBD market. At 803,000 sq. ft. of new construction, the Central Business District, ironically, falls short of Brickell Village’s over 1.4 million sq. ft. of new office space coming into the market.

    Here’s what CBRE’s Market Pulse has to say about the office market outlook for the next two years:

    Market space is expected to remain tight until 2009 when nearly 2 million square feet of new space hits the office market. The CBD has not seen new space added to the market since before 2004. Even Brickell Village saw new space since 2004. This brings into question whether Brickell Village is emerging as more of Business District than Miami’s Financial District–north of the River. Plans for Tibor Hollo’s One Bayfront Plaza, in the CBD, may add 2 million square feet of new office space to the CBD, which keeps the CBd in the game, but there haven’t been any major developments in this respect, yet.

    In the meantime, expect vacancies to decline and rents to rise as indicated by the CBRE charts below:

    Charts: CBRE Market Pulse; Vacancy Histories, and Rental Rate Averages

    Since the 3rd Quarter of 2004, the average asking rate for rental was $24.61 per sq. ft. and is now at $28.10. Vacancies have gone from 14.1% in the 3rd quarter of 2004 to 8.4% in 2007. Let’s take a look at absorption patterns since 04′:

    Chart: CBRE Completion versus Yearly Net Absorption

    You will notice that 2004 ended with negative absorption–30.5 thousand square feet were vacated. 2005 was followed up with slightly over 300 thousand sq. ft. of space being filled. Since then, absorption has lingered at around 80,000 sq. ft. a year with no new inventory added to the market. For all intensive purposes,the CBD’s office market has been dull. With more new office space coming online during the next to years than the last five, both Brickell Village and the CBD office markets will be tested. If absorption versus new space is sufficiently high, then both office markets are likely to become more desirable for new commercial development.


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    Commercial Development: Brickell Village Outlook

    The chart below is one of several I prepared that are based on the latest DDA Development Activity Breakdown Report. It represents office/retail development (built, under construction, and approved) from 2002 to mid-2007 in Brickell Village. In an effort to compare DDA data with with an alternative source (to get the best overall picture), I deferred to CBRE’s market outlook. Let’s look at the DDA derived chart first:

    Chart Data Source: DDA

    According to the DDA, there is currently 1.45 million square feet of office space under construction in Brickell Village. Let’s take a look at what CBRE reports:

    The CBRE office construction sum (which doesn’t include office condo development) is +/- 1.4 million sq. ft. This coincides with the DDA figures. Since 2002, there has been a total of 461,000 square feet of new office space added to the Brickell market. The 2007 office construction figure constitutes a major increase in inventory compared to the last five years. There is an underlying concern that the demand for new office space is insufficient for a healthy rate of absorption, but falling vacancies and rising lease rates are contradicting this claim. Let’s take a look at Brickell’s vacancy history since 2004:

    Chart Source: CBRE (Market Pulse)

    In the second quarter of 2005, while the residential condo market was still hot, vacancies in the office market were at a dismal 16.9%. However, since then (in the third quarter of 2007), vacancies have gone down to 8.0%.

    Let’s take a look at recent rental rate averages:

    Chart source: CBRE (Market Pulse) [Firefox users, right click to view larger clearer image]

    From when the vacancies were at their highest level in the second quarter of 2005 to their lowest point in the 3rd quarter this year, the average rental rate per square foot has gone up from $28.34 to $33.03–with one instance of an asking rate of $50.00 in a prestigious Class A office development (according to CBRE, a first for the Miami office market). Decreasing vacancies and increasing rental rates are healthy growth indicators but the 1.45 million sq. ft. of new space brings the market’s absorption rate into question. Let’s take a look at the rate of absorption for new construction in Brickell Village since 2004:

    Chart Source: CBRE (Market Pulse) [Firefox users, right click to view larger clearer image]

    As you can see above, there hasn’t been much new space added to the market since 2004 when 260,000 sq. ft. came online. Still, 247,982 sq. ft. was absorbed that same year compared to the 260k added–a pretty good absorption precedent, but minimal when considering the projected 1.4 million sq. ft. coming online during the next year or so.

    2008 is going to be pivotal for Brickell Village’s office market. The addition of over 1.4 million square feet of new space will test the market’s vitality but a successful transition will increase the overall value of Brickell Village real estate, create new jobs, add to the commercial and residential allure of BV (which already has higher office rental rates than the CBD), and balance the scales of development more evenly with the heavy residential side. If all goes well in 2008 and into 2009, and growth is proven sustainable, then who knows, the office sector might see a significant construction surge.

    NEXT: Commercial Development: Central Business District


    Filed under BoB Articles, Brickell Village, Commercial Developments, Economy

    Update on Fisher Island

    I received this information from the SEIU regarding the situation with workers at Fisher Island:

    “At –we are soliciting for creative ways to get to Fisher Island’s exclusive shores (and you get a free t-shirt). We are taking anyone who wants to go with us on Saturday to mingle with the super rich who have been squashing the human rights and civil rights of their workers. We are also keeping up a blog of our own at where we are going to start listing the ideas people have come up with so far.”


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    The Height Factor

    Brickell Village is seeing the most high density development (mainly residential) with over 13,000 units built or under active construction since 2002, but what about the height race? Let’s see what the figures say:

    Chart: Each bar represents one of the three primary segments of the urban core. The height of the bar represents the average height (in feet) of projects that have been built since 2002 or are currently under active construction. Brickell has the most projects with 32 factored in, the CBD has a total of 18 projects, and Uptown has 24.

    The average height of new development in Brickell Village, according to the Emporis database, is 451 feet. That’s a bit taller than 500 Brickell. Brickell Financial Center, which has undergone construction in phase I, seems the likeliest candidate to take the top position in the entire city with phase II at 903ft. in height. A pick up in office development would likely boost height averages across the board.

    The Central Business District’s (CBD) average height for new development is 496ft. or roughly the height of Wind. Many of the tallest in the CBD are concentrated along Parkwest, which until recently didn’t exist in the minds of Miamians. Although Brickell Village still has the tallest building in Miami (Four Seasons), the CBD has the tallest buildings on average–a worthy distinction that’s not likely to change any time soon.

    Uptown, with an average building height of 284 feet is evolving into an enclave for loft-style mid-rises. Granted, development along the Bay (Edgewater) has been rather tall, but Biscayne Boulevard projects have remained at around the 200 foot height range, on average. Many of the taller, ambitious projects, are stalled or scrapped.

    Below is the list of actual development (mostly residential, since 2002) per neighborhood as used for the chart above (heights are derived from Emporis and are not guaranteed to be exact, nor is the floor range [“est.” means that the height was estimated due to insufficient data]):

    Brickell Village

    Four Seasons 64 floors 789ft
    Infinity I 52 floors 630ft
    ICON Brickell South 58 floors 586ft
    ICON Brickell North 58 floors 586ft
    Viceroy at ICON Brickell 46 floors 465ft.
    Plaza on Brickell (I) 56 floors 610ft
    Jade Brickell 49 floors 528ft
    Avenue II 35 floors 365ft.
    Avenue I 47 floors 480ft.
    Espirito Santo 36 floors 487ft
    Asia 36 floors 483ft
    Latitude on the River 44 floors 476ft
    Plaza on Brickell (II) 48 floors 525ft
    Brickell on the River North 42 floors 482ft
    Brickell on the River South 46 floors 423 ft.
    500 Brickell (II) 43 floors 426ft
    500 Brickell (I) 43 floors 426ft
    Vue at Brickell 37 floors 423ft
    Axis I 40 floors 418ft
    Axis II 40 floors 418ft
    Club at Brickell 42 floors 411ft
    Carbonell 400 floors 410ft. est.
    Avenue 34 floors 400ft
    Skyline at Brickell 34 floors 376ft
    NeoVertika 35 floors 369ft
    Latitude One 23 floors 305ft
    The Sail 29 floors 300ft. est.
    Emerald at Brickell 27 floors 270ft
    Solaris 22 floors 230ft. est.
    One Broadway 40 floors 413ft
    Brickell Financial Center (II) 40 floors 500ft. est.

    Central Business District

    Met 1 40 floors 400ft
    900 Biscayne 65 floors 712ft
    Marquis 63 floors 679ft
    Marina Blue 57 floors 615ft
    Epic (I) 60 floors 609ft
    50 Biscayne 55 floors 554ft
    Everglades on the Bay (I) 49 floors 538ft
    Everglades on the Bay (II) 49 floors 538ft
    10 Museum Park 50 floors 585ft
    Ivy 45 floor 512ft.
    Mint 55 floor 631 ft.
    Wind 41 floors 501ft.
    One Miami I 45 floors 480ft
    One Miami II 44 floors 460ft
    The Loft I 23 floors 274ft
    Loft II 35 floors 433ft
    U.S. Courthouse 14 floors 200ft. est.
    Transit Village 17 floors 220ft. est.


    Quantum S. Tower 51 floors 554ft
    Opera Tower 56 floors 530ft
    Paramount Bay 47 floors 496ft
    Quantum North Tower 44 floors 536ft
    Blue 36 floors 425ft
    1800 Club 40 floors 423ft
    Four Midtown 31 floors 350ft
    Two Midtown 29 floors 320ft
    Biscayne Park 26 floors 277ft
    Platinum 22 floors 225ft.
    Onyx 28 floors 308ft
    Star Lofts 26 floors 280 ft.
    Biscayne Tower 21 floors 230ft. est.
    Biscayne Plaza 21 floors 240 ft. est.
    New Wave 19 floors 239ft
    Gallery Art 18 floors 199ft
    City 24 15 floors 176ft.
    Filling Station 10 floors 179ft
    Cynergi 11 floors 180ft. est.
    Cite 15 floors 170ft. est.
    Pinnacle View 14 floors 140ft. est.
    Uptown Lofts 12 floors 130ft. est.
    Yorker 10 floors 120ft. estimated
    Bay Lofts 9 floors 100ft. est.

    NEXT: Commercial Development


    Filed under BoB Articles

    Residential Development: Actual vs. Speculative

    The graph below is based on the DDA Development Activity Breakdown Report 2002-2007:

    Chart: Each bar represents one of the three primary urban core segments. Brickell is combined with West Brickell; the CBD with Parkwest and South East Overtown; the Media and Entertainment District with Wynwood, Edgewater, and the Midtown vicinity). Red means speculative development–approved but inactive/unbuilt. Blue means real development–units built or under active construction.


    The chart above (2002 to 2007) is intended to weigh actual development against speculative development. Speculative constitutes approved but inactive projects–not under construction. Actual development represents projects built or under active construction. Let’s see what the numbers say about the three primary areas of the urban core:

    Brickell Village

    Very much an eighties baby, Brickell Village finally came into its own during the last five years. It currently leads the the urban core in actual development (high density residential) with 13,463 units built and/or under construction since 2002. This total includes West Brickell as defined by the DDA. The surge in new construction produced notable results along north Brickell Bay Drive., the south shore of the Miami River, and the area West of Brickell Avenue. Since the 1980’s, high density residential in the Brickell area had been largely confined to the east side of Brickell Avenue. The recent boom, however, spread development farther west leaving a more mature urban enclave behind.

    According to the report, Brickell Village has the least speculation with 4,266 remaining unbuilt thus far. A large sum, but for urban Miami’s standards, the least. Although South Miami Avenue greatly benefited from the construction surge, it’s also where much of the speculative development has been concentrated (Pointe, Beacon, Brickell Citi Center, Premiere Towers, Columbus Centre, Brickell Flatiron) .

    The Central Business District (CBD)

    The Central Business District (CBD), which has produced little high density residential development throughout the years, saw 8,039 units built and/or under construction from 2002 till mid-2007. Although behind traditionally residential Brickell Village, the CBD has set an impressive precedent for residential development and balanced the scales of development more evenly with office. As a result, the physical character of the CBD has been altered but mainly along its east and south fringes–along Biscayne Boulevard and the Miami River.

    The interior of the CBD has remained largely unaffected and under-utilized in comparison with the south and east fringes. The Related Group, with it Lofts Downtown line is an exception, as is Sergio Rok with Flagler First, and Arbel Devlopment’s Capital Lofts at the Security Building. Still, structurally, much of the CBD’s interior remains decades old.

    Uptown (Wynwood, Media & Entertainment District, Edgewater, Midtown)

    Not surprisingly, upstart Uptown is in last place with 6,721 units of actual development. Regardless, Uptown has shown tremendous growth when compared to pre-2002. The higher levels of speculative development in the area are not surprising. Importantly, Uptown’s plans are big and far reaching with Terra Group’s Citi-Square and Argent’s Omni Redevelopment alone. Those two, combined with the Performing Arts Center, Midtown Miami, and numerous Edgewater and Biscayne Boulevard projects make Uptown’s rise from obscurity impressive nonetheless.

    With 5,921 units still speculative and large projects progressing slowly, Uptown’s potential seems suspended. The area’s interior has seen encouraging but rather limited residential development and its list of scrapped and inactive projects is considerably long with little sign of pending projects gaining momentum.

    Next: The Building Height Factor


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    Wake Up, Fisher Island! A Documentary

    Via – SEIU Thanks for submitting Tanya!

    For more information go to 


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