When it comes to the retail sector, much of the buzz surrounds Brickell City Centre and its retail component, which opened late last year.
“Drop a pin on Brickell City Centre and you can see the ripples going out, all around the Miami River,” said Robert Granda, a director of Franklin Street of Fort Lauderdale.
He points to the Nexus Riverside Central mixed-use development, planned for the 2-acre site of the City of Miami’s office building at 444 SW Second Ave., for which a deal has yet to be made with the city. The $465 million project would add 1,500 new housing units and 30,000 square feet of retail, he said. “It used to be that Miami Beach was where you wanted to be, but now Brickell, downtown, Wynwood and the Design District are the epicenter,” Mr. Granda said.
“What’s happening is a testament to Swire’s vision,” he said. “The market was calling for change in Brickell and downtown, and Swire decided to do it” and began construction in the middle of a recession, he said. “The rest of the city has caught up, and now, All Aboard Florida is going to be right in the heart of it. If developers wait for the cities, they’ll wait forever.”
Coconut Grove, he said, is due for a revival, with the delivery of several new condominium buildings and the planned partial demolition, and subsequent rebuilding, of CocoWalk. It will provide the kind of walkable, experience-driven venue that consumers want, especially millennials, he said. “The infrastructure and the transportation are there, and those are the economic drivers in those markets.
“Mixed use is the future, and it has everything to do with the next generation and the change in consumer behavior,” he said. “They want a localized concept; food halls are a thing. They want to support local chefs. Little concepts are going to thrive, and it will be the experience at the venue – and how that plays on social media – that drives the change,” he said.
“We haven’t even seen yet what Miami is capable of,” Mr. Granda said. “In 10 years it will look totally different. People will see us as they see Manhattan and Los Angeles.”