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New High-Rise Living in Miami Worldcenter: A Promising Solution for the City’s Competitive Rental Market

Miami Worldcenter is set to see the addition of more high-rise living, potentially offering some relief in one of the most competitive rental markets in the U.S. Lalezarian Properties, a New York-based developer, received approval from the city of Miami’s urban development review board for its design of three towers in the Miami Worldcenter. These towers, standing at 68, 67, and 31 stories, are planned for the corner of 20 NE 8th St. and 777 North Miami Ave., near the MiamiCentral Brightline Station. The project aims to accommodate a total of 2,040 apartment rentals in this rapidly growing area. While the plan was approved, the board suggested some changes, which Lalezarian is now studying for feasibility.

Miami Worldcenter, sprawling over 27 acres, is the second-largest urban development in the U.S., following New York’s Hudson Yards. It was launched in 2016 with the aim of transforming mostly vacant surface parking lots near the Kaseya Center into a mix of condominiums, apartment rental towers, hotels, and a convention center (which has since been abandoned). Developers from across the country have been eager to contribute to different sections within Miami Worldcenter.

Ken H. Johnson, a real estate finance professor at Florida Atlantic University, notes that major developers are betting on a continued demographic shift towards Florida for years to come, attracting not only people but also significant capital.

Despite a slight population decline in South Florida during the pandemic, Florida as a whole became one of the fastest-growing states in the country. The state’s warm climate, lenient COVID-19 policies, and lack of income taxes have drawn remote workers and executives. This influx has prompted numerous developers, including those in South Florida, to seize the opportunity to build.

If the design remains relatively unchanged, construction is slated to commence in 2024. The project will be executed in three phases, with an estimated completion time of about four years. These new plans add to the Miami Worldcenter community, which already features several high-rises, hotels, and over $5 million worth of outdoor artwork. Projects like this by Lalezarian are expected to help meet the existing demand.

According to Johnson, demand still surpasses supply, even with this substantial number of units entering the market. He emphasizes that building more units is the key to alleviating the current real estate crisis.

This massive development aligns with the Downtown Development Authority’s vision for downtown Miami. Decades ago, streets were often deserted after office hours. Today, the DDA aims to attract more employers to diversify the local economy and create a live-work-play environment. Alicia Cervera Lamadrid, a board member, emphasizes that a growing community fosters safety and economic vitality, as well as increasing real estate tax revenue, which is crucial for continued growth.

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