Today’s news that Espacio USA, the American subsidiary of one of Spain’s largest real estate development firms, is planning a $412 million mixed-use project just north of the Arsht Center is a big step forward for downtown Miami on a few levels.
For starters, anytime one of the world’s most prominent developers wants to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Miami is reason to celebrate. Espacio becomes the latest example of a credible development firm betting on Miami, with Swire (Hong Kong), Agave Holdings (Mexico) and Genting Group (Malaysia) being three recent examples. Combined, these companies are investing more than $5 billion in Miami.
Second, the proposed 1400 Biscayne Blvd. project will bring new life to the Omni district, which has long been among South Florida’s most unfulfilled neighborhoods dating back to the defunct Omni Mall. The decision to locate the Arsht Center here in the early 2000s was a vote of confidence for the area and an attempt to attract new development around the facility. The performing arts center has done just that as it enters its seventh year. With the rise of Espacio’s project and the planned redevelopment of the Miami Herald site, this district will soon come alive with street-level activity.
Lastly, the 1400 Biscayne Blvd. project will serve as a northward extension of Miami’s Central Business District, located just south of I-395. The Omni area and larger Biscayne Blvd. corridor have lacked Class A office space for decades; this project will bring more than 100,000 square feet of prime office product — and will hopefully spur additional commercial development in the area, not to mention attract new corporate blood to the urban core.