Central Business District Shift
Downtown was once the undisputed central business district of Miami. It has always been taken for granted that the CBD (as urbanists like to call it) was where the Bank of America tower stood completely illuminated at night. Yet, increasingly, class A office development is emerging south of the river in upstart Brickell Village.
Downtown’s Tale of the Tape
Downtown, a jumble of 1940s and 50s era low rises with sporadic office high rises, remains, with the exception of Met Two, dormant in class A office development. One Bayfront Plaza seems a distant dream though I’m rooting for the Hollos. The development of the Marina Blue, 900 Biscayne, Ten Museum Park, Marquis, Loft I and II, Viscayne, 50 Biscayne, Wind, Ivy, and Metropolitan Miami are mostly high density residential. the pedestrianization of the area has been slow to come. Retail activity remains niche in the Jewelry District and the periphery possess an eclectic array of electronic, clothing, and accessory stores. Had Lynx, a major proposed Class A offering, been completed, momentum may have been tipped north of the river, but it, like so many other developments, never broke ground, and Brickell Village, with the class A additions of Brickell World Center, Latitude One, and 1450 Brickell towers, is where big business is headed.
Miami 21’s Say in the Matter
Though scaled down in height from the original plans, Brickell CitiCentre’s three upcoming class A office towers may be the catalyst for shifting the CBD south of the River.
Miami 21’s zoning designation of T6 applies to both the Downtown and Brickell Village zones, but Downtown’s T6-80 designation allows for up to 80 floors whereas Brickell Village’s T6-60 designation permits, you guessed it, 60 floors. I’ve yet to see the actual height restriction in terms of feet for either areas. Floor heights can vary and a 60 floor office building can, theoretically, be taller than a 80 floor one.
An interlocal agreement dating back to February 2008, between Miami-Dade and the Federal Aviation Authority, which makes reference to the MIA Height Zoning Ordinance, restricts building heights in the urban core to 1,000ft. It would appear that a 1,000 footer can be built in either Downtown or Brickell Village given their T6 Urban Core designations. Surely there’s a logical explanation for Miami 21’s emphasis on 80 floors in Downtown v. 60 floors in Brickell Village, but it seems to favor more skyscraper development in Downtown. The southward flow of office development, however, is undeterred and once BCC is topped off, downtown’s role as the City’s central business district may be history.
Related BoB Posts:
- Under-Utilization in the CBD (Pt. I)
- Under-Utilization in the CBD – Historic Designations (Pt. II)
- Under-Utilization in the CBD – Un-Designated Historic (Pt. III)
- Re-Thinking Brickell’s Interior