Plans change for Metropolitan Miami residential tower
By Suzanne Schmidt
MET 2, one of three towers at urban development Metropolitan Miami, now is being planned as a commercial, retail and hotel center instead of a residential high-rise, as originally planned.
The tower is in preliminary design phase. Construction at the 1.75-acre site, which until recently was a massive surface parking lot near the tip of downtown, is estimated to begin next summer as the project's final phase.
The 640-foot-tall MET 2 tower, developed by MDM Group USA, will be at 200 SE Third St., encompassing 700,000 square feet of commercial and office space on the west side and a 376-room full-service hotel on the east side with 30,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.
The project, owned by several partnership groups and in the works for two years, is on schedule, said Tim Weller, MDM's vice president of development.
"We originally added a commercial portion to the MET 3 site, and then we decided it would be better on the MET 2 site," Mr. Weller said. The MET 2 site is more suitable for developing a commercial building and hotel, he said, because MET 3 has better views for residential units.
The ground floor of MET 2 is to feature retail space and lobbies for commercial use and the hotel. The 31-floor hotel design calls for a lobby restaurant and full amenity capabilities. Mr. Weller said the hotel would cater to business clients but plans are in the early stages. He said it's too early to choose a hotel operator.
"The site right now is where our sales center is for MET 1 and 3," said Mr. Weller. "Once construction for MET 2 begins, it will take 30 months for completion."
Cost estimates are not ready for MET 2, Mr. Weller said.
Mr. Weller projected a four-year build-out on the entire development. Designs for Metropolitan Miami, which will exceed $1 billion in development costs, also include residential towers MET 1 and 3 and MET Square, a four-story atrium entertainment complex featuring a movie theater, restaurants and shops.
MET 1, a 447-unit luxury condominium tower now under construction, is almost sold out, Mr. Weller said. Construction on MET 3, an 866-foot tower with 74 residential floors and a Whole Foods Market on the ground level, is to follow.
"It's really the transformation of downtown into a living and working community bringing all the elements and needs to flourish on a 24-hour basis," he said. "Live and work in the same three-block radius.
"Connection between the towers and square will be unified by streetscape and our lighting plan," he said. "The entire development is really identified by design."
Mr. Weller joined MDM 15 years ago. Metropolitan Miami is MDM's major project, he said. "Our entire staff is involved in the Met construction." Past MDM projects include JW Marriott Hotel and Mellon Financial Center in Brickell.
"Miami is a great developing city," Mr. Weller said. "Miami is the future of the area, and developers are, of course, very interested in being here to create a new urban area."