Miami Worldcenter ready to start scaled-back retail
Written by John Charles Robbins on September 27, 2016
Miami Worldcenter developers are ready to begin the scaled-back retail portion of the sweeping mixed-use project promising to bring new life to downtown Miami.
This month, Miami Worldcenter Associates filed the formal application with the city’s Planning and Zoning Department requesting a new warrant for the redesigned “High Street” retail plan.
“Miami Worldcenter filed a new warrant with the city which is currently being reviewed, and we hope to earn approval over the coming weeks,” said Nitin Motwani, managing principal for Miami Worldcenter Associates.
“In the meantime, construction continues on our Paramount Miami Worldcenter condominium, our first phase of pedestrian-oriented retail, and our multifamily apartment tower along Northeast Seventh Street,” he said.
The new plans also offer details on adjustments made to the number of expected residential units and parking spaces for Worldcenter.
In January, Taubman Centers Inc. announced it was not moving forward with an enclosed regional mall that was slated to be part of Miami Worldcenter. Instead, Taubman, in conjunction with The Forbes Co. and Miami Worldcenter’s master developer, Miami Worldcenter Associates, said it would pursue a “High Street” retail plan that would better utilize the unique characteristics of the site and the market.
In July, Worldcenter representatives presented revised plans to the city’s Urban Development Review Board.
The original plan called for 1,090,771 square feet of commercial space. The new plan sets aside less than one-third as much, 338,036 square feet.
While the city’s planning staff voiced concerns about the major change, some of the review board members liked the less boxy and smaller plan.
The board unanimously recommended approval of the new plan, with conditions including making some elevators external and transparent to the street; considering a more creative design to a southern residential tower; bringing more retail uses forward and adding some retail uses to upper floors to encourage more pedestrian circulation; and working to richen the landscape planned for a pedestrian paseo and public plaza.
In a letter accompanying the request for a new warrant, attorney Ryan Bailine, representing the developers, said the development concept has shifted from a traditional, enclosed shopping center to an external, urban model with “High Street” retail.
“These changes are a reflection of shifting market trends in the retail industry, predominantly driven by customer expectations, as well as a desire by [the developers] to highlight and more fully integrate the project into the urban fabric of downtown Miami,” wrote Mr. Bailine.
The letter includes a summary of the changes including:
- Total residential units increasing from 914 to 1,011.
- Maximum lot coverage from 88% to 81.5%.
- Open space going from 18.1% to 18.25%.
- Height of Tower 1, Luma, goes from 460 feet to 482, but remains at 44 stories.
- Height of Tower 2, Paramount, goes from 696 feet, 6 inches in 58 stories to 60 stories.
- Podium height, from 129 feet to varying from 90 to 125 feet.
- Parking increasing from 3,901 spaces to 3,998.
- Commercial area declining from 1,090,771 square feet to 338,036.
- Total area declines from 4,733,072 square feet to 3,913,326.
“The most significant update to the design of the project is the externalization of the ‘Superstructure,’” wrote Mr. Bailine.
A three-story indoor mall with five levels of parking above, originally planned to span five blocks from the FEC railway right of way to Northeast 10th Street between Northeast First and Second avenues, is now broken up into discrete blocks, each with ground-floor, and in some cases second floor, retail uses and parking above, Mr. Bailine wrote.
In regard to promoting thoroughfares and pedestrian connectivity, a new north-south paseo connects the planned Seventh Street Promenade to Northeast 10th Street, between Northeast First and Second avenues, the letter says.
Worldcenter is a collaboration of Miami Worldcenter Associates and a team of development, design and engineering firms. The entire development promises a mix of residential towers, hotels, retail stores, restaurants, entertainment venues and a convention center to an area hugged by AmericanAirlines Arena and All Aboard Florida’s MiamiCentral train station.