The Miami Health District Project

Lopez’s Black Salmon and Allen Morris have outlined their ambitious plans for Highland Park Miami, a sprawling 7-acre project set to transform the landscape of the Miami Health District. Envisioned within this project are 500,000 square feet of medical office space, 1,000 apartments, a 150-key hotel, retail establishments, and lush green spaces. The development, consisting of approximately half a dozen buildings that could reach heights of up to 22 stories, will take shape over the course of the next decade.

Over the past decade, Lopez meticulously acquired roughly 50 properties encompassing four city blocks, a process that involved a substantial investment of approximately $60 million. These properties are strategically situated near the Metrorail, and the development team is capitalizing on transit-oriented development zoning to maximize density.

Lopez emphasized their commitment to aligning with mass transit developments in the area, recognizing the inevitability of progress in this location.

To bring their vision to life, Black Salmon and Allen Morris enlisted the renowned architectural firm Arquitectonica, with the goal of expanding the health district’s footprint by an impressive 10 percent. The Miami Health District already boasts the presence of major hospital systems, including Jackson Memorial Hospital, the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, and the Miami VA Medical Center.

Situated at 800 Northwest 14th Street, south of the hospitals and State Road 836, the site encompasses a mix of single-family homes and vacant lots. The developers are currently navigating the entitlement process with the City of Miami and anticipate commencing site clearance this year. Groundbreaking for the initial phase is projected to occur next year.

In the near future, the developers plan to identify a private equity partner, allowing for separate financing of each development phase. The first phase will comprise approximately 250 to 300 apartments and approximately 250,000 square feet of medical office space, with Oppenheim Architecture leading the design efforts for the multifamily rental component. The team is actively collaborating with brokers to pre-lease the medical office space.

Adjacent to their project, Boston-based Congress Group is planning a 27-story apartment tower near the Shops at Civica in the health district, a shift from their initial plan for medical office space, reflecting the evolving dynamics of the office market.

Despite these changes, Lopez of Black Salmon highlighted a remarkable equilibrium between supply and demand within the health district.

Notably, the Highland Park development will feature an innovative green roof, complete with running and walking tracks, as well as other fitness amenities, according to Bernardo Fort-Brescia of Arquitectonica. Additionally, the architecture firm is devising enhancements for a public square at the ground level, recognizing the contemporary preference for office spaces that offer comprehensive amenities. This concept promotes the idea of having a neighborhood just steps away from your workspace, fostering a vibrant work-live environment.

Fort-Brescia, who has been intimately involved in the project for nearly three years, explained that additional land acquisitions enabled the creation of more efficient floor layouts, including within the garage.

Morris emphasized that the project will introduce architecturally captivating buildings to the area, thanks to the involvement of esteemed architects Bernardo Fort-Brescia and Chad Oppenheim, adding a potentially distinctive architectural dimension that has been lacking thus far.

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