What 2022 Has in Store for Downtown Miami?
The Zoning Code allows the highest density, tallest buildings, and most parking flexibility anywhere in the city, leading to impressive large-scale structures. Miami World Center, which includes numerous residential towers, commercial buildings, plazas, and enhanced streetscapes, continues to take shape. Downtown Miami appears to be in the early chapters of an exciting era.
Downtown Miami offers a fun urban lifestyle with numerous residential options–and residential demand in South Florida has soared. There is something for everyone, from renovated 1960’s buildings luxury residential towers along Biscayne Boulevard with sweeping unobstructed views of Biscayne Bay like the Waldorf Astoria and 1000 Museum to loft buildings with polished concrete floors and high ceilings. The FTX Arena, waterfront Parks, and easy access to many adjacent neighborhoods have contributed to the potential of a great community.
The Downtown Mobility Network, a system of protected bike lanes running along four one-directional streets, north, south, east, and west, reinforces the car-optional lifestyle. The protected bike network will expand across the urban core and eventually connect the entire county. Numerous bus lines, the Metro-Mover, Metro-Rail, Brightline, and Tri-Rail (hopefully in 2022) create a mobility hub for Downtown with connections across the city, county, and region.
The numerous public Miami Parking Authority Garages that offer monthly parking passes have led to residential developments without parking, including Loft 1, Loft 2, and Centro. Following suit, Yotel Pad will be completed soon, with District 225, The Crosby, and 501 West 1st beginning construction soon. No on-site parking allows greater flexibility in the structural design. Units that stretch from the ground to the penthouse without monstrous parking podiums create active facades, a more inviting streetscape, lower construction costs, use fewer resources, and thus, cost less to live in.
The recently opened Downtown 5th by The Melo Group, and Grand Station, a collaboration between ROVR and the Miami Parking Authority, has brought thousands of residents to central downtown. The once sleepy area around Wilkie D Ferguson Jr. Courthouse with a wavy field designed by Maya Lin offers a backdrop for the neighbor’s strolls or dog walks. As the community continues to become car-optional with more residents moving into central and west downtown, there will be scrutiny on the urban design and the pedestrian experience. We will see safety enhancements, including better streetlights, smoother sidewalks, and updated paint striping at crosswalks. The curb-less design of Flagler Street, currently under construction, will create a flexible space that can be used for public gatherings and entertainment.
The Downtown Miami Historic District
Buildings like the century-old Post Office and the Walgreen’s structure are being transformed into mixed-use entertainment venues featuring food and beverage options. Julia and Henry at Walgreens on Flagler and 2nd will feature a multi-level atrium restaurant and bar destination, basement hi-fi bar, co-working spaces on the fourth and fifth floors, and a high-end restaurant, bar, and distillery on the roof.
And You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
The new entertainment and commercial offerings will create a snowball effect, bringing even more density and services to the community. As we look to the future of 2022 and beyond, we should enjoy watching the transition of downtown back to a people-focused community that embraces the history, unique architecture, and location that have always set Downtown Miami apart.