1. Zoning

Miami as a whole recently underwent a major zoning overhaul, creating an entirely new code book called Miami 21. Downtown Miami ‘s urban core is the only location which boasts the generous T6-80designation. So what does that mean for developers? To break it down, the “T6” zone permits the greatest number and variety of uses to allow for mixed-use development and the “80” signifies the maximum number of stories that can be built. This creates a pure vertical play, allowing for high-density, ‘sky is the limit’ height allocation and an overlay allows for 1,000 units per acre, which is sixtimes the average from other neighborhoods.

With a canvas like that, it’s no wonder why T6-80 is turning the heads of developers. Downtown Miami will be a mini-Manhattan in ten years – the only thing missing are bold developers who can maximize the zoning.

2. Demographics

Downtown Miami is growing fast – and becoming younger, wealthier and more educated, with a narrowing split between the male and female population. In 2018, more than 92,200 people called greater Downtown Miami home, a number which has surged by nearly 40% since 2010 and is expected to exceed 109,000 by the year 2021[1].The median household income is on the rise as well, up 55% for area residents since 2010. 

A significant chunk of these residents are young professionals with disposable income, who seek urban core lifestyle and have opted to live in downtown, rather than the beaches or Brickell. More residents and more visitors with more disposable income? It’s a massive driver for the wave of new services and development that are pouring in to Downtown Miami to meet the needs of the shifting demographics.  

[1]According to the 2018 Demographics Report issued by the Miami Downtown Development Authority

3. Connectivity

Brightline. Virgin Trains USA. Call it what you want, but the express passenger rail system is creating ways for South Florida residents and visitors to beat traffic and boosting connectivity in the urban cores. Officially launched in 2018, the Brightline bills itself as a blend of premium train travel and hospitality but it rose to rapid popularity for solving a major transportation headache – seamlessly connecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach (and planned future service to Orlando). So much so, in fact, that entertainment and transportation giant Virgin Group entered a strategic partnership with the group late last year to rebrand the service as Virgin Trains USA later in 2019.

The Brightline inter-city express train is just one of the public transit options at the newly-unveiled MiamiCentral in the heart of Downtown Miami, creating a true hub for connectivity. The Metromover, Metrorail, Metrobus, City of Miami Trolley Systems and future Tri-Rail Downtown Miami Link are all accessible from MiamiCentral, too, quite literally creating new pathways for Downtown residents, employees and visitors to embrace and experience the perks of city living. 

4. It’s a Real City

Downtown Miami is uniquely positioned at the heart of the Miami metro area and experiencing a renaissance as residents, businesses and developers are drawn to the charms and opportunity of a dense work-live-play urban oasis. 

Flagler Street is the original Main Street – the north-side dividing line on the city’s first urban plan and home to historical gems and modern amenities. Many of Miami’s most iconic architectural and historical fixtures – Freedom Tower, Olympia Theater, Gesu Church and the DuPont Building, to name a few – have woven their stories into the vibrant patchwork of Downtown Miami. 

This inherent character, combined with the geographically central location, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks and shifting demographics are contributing to the rapid evolution of our Downtown urban core.

5. South Beach and Brickell have Jumped the Shark

Some of Magic City’s most notable neighborhoods to see and be seen are now more likely to elicit eyerolls from local residents and less exclusive interest from tourists as they have evolved into expensive, traffic-congested nightmares and less hip, walkable neighborhoods.

The increasing population in Brickell and South Beach has swelled the neighborhoods into gridlocked destinations choked by bridges and throngs of tourists. Why then, has the same population growth in Downtown Miami has contributed to mixed-use development and an emerging, youthful energy? One of the main differentiators is connectivity – primarily public transit – which has enabled access and serves as insurance that Downtown Miami has longevity in its trajectory. 

As the cache of once-popular neighborhoods wanes, Downtown Miami is perfectly positioned to capitalize with a historical street grid that is rich with culture, connectivity, development potential and a sense of place.