Back in January, Miami World Center created quite the stir when its creators announced the cancellation of its original enclosed mall, which was set to provide a massive 760,000 square feet of retail space. Today, I chose to take a closer look at the new unveiled design presented by the development team. I usually keep low expectations to development changes but in this case I couldn’t help but wonder whether this could dramatically change the overall potential of the project.
Prior to reading the developer’s press release, I took a glance at the renderings and immediately noticed a “High Street” vibe similar to the likes of the SoHo shopping district in New York City as well as striking similarities to other local attractions such as Lincoln Road in Miami Beach or even NE 39th St in the Miami Design District. One undeniable fact is immediately easy to see: the developers plan to gear their vision more towards a walk-able, open air environment instead of a closed mall similar to the ones found in suburban areas. Consistent with this vision also includes the current renovation plans of Miami’s Flagler Street (read our full story here).
In the press release, Nitin Motwani, Managing Principal of Miami World Center Associates, cited the decision to change the project plan’s as testimony to the proven success of the “High Street” design and its vital role in the resurgence of major urban centers worldwide. With Downtown set to increase its population even further, a strong demand for pedestrian oriented shopping shows to be the best fit instead of an enclosed shopping mall.
“Our team is in daily contact with terrific retailers and there is clearly strong demand for a pedestrian-oriented shopping streetscape in downtown Miami.” – Nitin Motwani
Although initially surprised by the sudden change of plans, I actually favor the model of an outdoor promenade as I think it better serves the urban setting of Downtown. With increased development already set to add to existing units already present in the area, the concept of an outdoor retail thoroughfare will provide a much better match to the existing feel of the neighborhood. Overall, it shows a lot more focus and better aesthetic appeal to the type of lifestyle that corresponds in the city’s urban center.
As avid observers on changes happening in the area, my team and I couldn’t help to also marvel at the idea of having Miami World Center serve as a junction between the underutilized northern portion of Downtown south of I-395 and the Arts & Entertainment District. Although it may not look as important now, a junction between these areas could potentially provide a sense of neighborhood connectivity and encourage more pedestrian activity in the area we humbly feel is currently underutilized.
Spanning 27 acres in the core of Downtown, Miami World Center is currently on track to be among the largest urban developments in the United States. Featuring a master plan including retail, hotel, and residential space, it currently stands among the most anticipated projects for the next real estate cycle and currently expected to account for $2 billion in new investment. . For more information on the project please feel free to contact us here
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