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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4 responses to “Residential Development: Actual vs. Speculative

  1. Confused

    Where did you get these figures from? Seems speculative at best

  2. BoB

    As mentioned in the first sentence of the post (above the chart), the figures are based on the Downtown Development Authority’s latest Development Activity Breakdown Report. Click on the link to view it.

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