Flashback to 2006. Developers across South Florida were outgunning each other for the privilege of building the biggest, tallest, priciest, most luxurious condos in the land. That’s when a light bulb went off in the mind of Rilea Group CEO Alan Ojeda.
Fresh off the completion of One Broadway, a luxury apartment in the Brickell Financial District, Ojeda pulled plans to build a condo building next door and instead hatched a Class A office building. The office tower, adjacent One Broadway, and street level shops and restaurants would form a mixed-use anchor at Brickell’s southern entrance.
It was a gutsy move at a time when developers near and far were marketing condos as a sure thing, slam dunk investment. In all, 23,000 residential units were built, marking the single largest period of new development in Miami’s history.
Now fast-forward to today. One Broadway is at capacity with 98% occupancy, Brickell is thriving with dining and shopping options ranging from PM Steak and Seafood to Pieduck’s Pizza, and 1450 Brickell office tower is leading the Miami market with more than 45 tenants and a 93% occupancy rate. Tenants include JP Morgan Chase, Bilzin Sumberg, American Express, HJ Heinz & Co., City National Bank, and many more.
All of this momentum was recognized Wednesday night when Rilea Group’s mixed-use development was honored as the Project of the Year by the Urban Land Institute’s Southeast Florida/Caribbean District Council. Widely considered as the land use and development industry’s top honor, the distinction recognizes the real estate project that best embodies the mission of the Urban Land Institute: ensuring the responsible use of land in an effort to create sustainable, thriving communities.
Most important, Rilea Group’s master planned project has literally reshaped a large swath of the Brickell Financial District that sat idle for years, fueling smart growth and proving that glass and steel put to good use can help enliven an entire neighborhood.