Developer plans 29-story mixed-use tower north of downtown Miami
By Marilyn Bowden
Grouper Financial's decision to build a Class A office tower at 2222 Biscayne Blvd. may anticipate a northern extension of the Central Business District.
Grouper, which built Palmetto Bay Village Center at the former Burger King headquarters site in South Dade, plans a 29-story mixed-use tower that would combine for-lease and condo space in its 400,000-square-foot office component. The project, on a 2-acre lot that spans the block between 22nd and 23rd streets, would also include retail, condos, restaurants, a health club and a garage that would allow tenants four spaces per 1,000 square feet, Grouper President Scott Silver said.
Construction on the project, awaiting a major use special permit, is scheduled to begin in fall 2007, he said, with delivery set for fall 2009.
"We looked around at all the residential development in the area and saw that 80,000 units are in for approval," Mr. Silver said. "At least 25,000 of those will be built. That's an enormous amount. So we felt the Biscayne corridor needed one large Class A office building."
Carol Ellis Cutler, a Colliers Abood Wood-Fay vice president who is marketing 2222 Biscayne, said the emerging Midtown submarket will become an extension of the urban core.
"We're bullish about that part of town," she said. "It's an up-and-coming area, with the Performing Arts Center and the Midtown development opening this fall. It's the inevitable area for expansion. Downtown is tapped out, and Brickell East is predominantly residential."
Several mixed-use projects are to add office space to the area. According to Jones Lang Lasalle's second-quarter office report, scattered among the 15 predominantly residential projects under way on or near the Biscayne Corridor is about 131,000 square feet of office space.
At the mixed-use 2121 Biscayne, across the street from the Grouper project, about 110,000 square feet of office condos has been announced.
Ms Cutler said large users from downtown, Brickell and Coral Gables have expressed interest in 2222 Biscayne.
"In addition to offering ease of access to I-95 and I-395 exit ramps," she said, "2222 Biscayne offers more parking than Brickell or downtown."
According to the Studley Report for the second quarter, the average parking ratio for Miami's Central Business District is 1.5 spaces per 1,000 square feet. Suburban markets average 3.5 spaces per 1,000 square feet.
Because the project is in the Miami-Dade Enterprise Zone, said Bill Cutler of Collier Abood Wood-Fay, there are also tax advantages - including an exemption of 50% to 100% of county property taxes for improvements to the property for up to five years and a refund of impact fees. Federal incentives include a 97% sales-tax refund on business properties up to $10,000 as well as several corporate income-tax benefits.
The 2222 Biscayne building, designed by architect Gail B. Baldwin, will complement new residential designs in the area, Mr. Silver said, as well as the landmark Bacardi Building a block away. It offers floor plates of up to 30,000 square feet.
Mr. Silver said the office component will be offered for lease at a base rent of $38 a square foot or for sale at $350 a square foot.
"We are offering lease opportunities to good, solid-credit tenants," he said. "We will remain the landlord of those units and keep the building under unified management."
He said the office-condo market, which has taken off in the past two years in Miami after false starts in the late 1980s and early '90s, "is now becoming more mainstream for small and medium tenants. Unless they are planning huge growth, buyers can fix their costs for the life of the business."
Details: (305) 446-0011, or www.2222biscayne.com.