The city of Miami Beach has advanced a plan to grow Lincoln Road into a business hub, as a team of local and national real estate firms have proposed Class A office and retail space in the district.
Now that the Miami Beach City Commission granted initial approval to build two mixed-use developments in the Lincoln Road District, the city can now continue to negotiate ground lease terms. Commissioner Ricky Arriola said the vote is a big first step in moving the project forward.
“I think it’s a catalytic project for the city because it does many things. One of which is take advantage of the very strong demand for office space in our community and hopefully will capture some of the corporate relocations that are taking place,” said Arriola. “We see it across the bay in Miami in places like Brickell, Wynwood and Coconut Grove. Miami Beach, because of its lack of office space, really hasn’t had many big wins when it comes to corporate relocation.”
Lincoln Road Property Owner, a joint venture led by South Florida real estate firms Starwood Capital Group, Integra Investments and The Comras Co., hopes to lease a pair of surface parking lots and develop The Gardens at Lincoln Lane. The project involves two low-rise buildings with approximately 130,000 square feet of street-level retail and more than 425 parking spaces. It will also have just under 130,000 square feet of Class A office space.
Arriola said with Miami Beach’s dependence on tourism, the local economy has taken a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We need to diversify our economy. We can try to attract more of an office market so we’re active during the day and not just at night,” said Arriola. “And also bring more jobs to Miami Beach that aren’t just hospitality and retail economy but are high-paying jobs in growth industries like financial services and high tech.”
Andrew Coren, a managing director with Starwood Capital, said the project will improve walkability in the area and that the city could generate millions in the form of taxes and lease payments, as well as have retail centers benefit from the increase in foot traffic from people working in nearby offices.
“Miami Beach is rapidly becoming a sought-after destination for global businesses, and we are incredibly pleased to put forward a proposed development that will represent the best this region has to offer,” said Coren in a press release. “Our proposal will not only offer first-class accommodations and amenities that today’s leading businesses demand but it will be constructed in an environmentally friendly manner focused on preserving energy, water consumption and natural light. We look forward to refining our proposal with city officials and presenting the public with our vision in the months to come.”
The Miami Beach Request For Proposals was launched last year and intends to diversify Miami Beach’s economy by activating city-owned parking lots with newly-built office space to help with pent-up demand after an increase in existing and new-to-market office tenants.
The Gardens at Lincoln Lane is designed by New York-based Brandon Haw Architecture and West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture. The two sites will be located one block north of Lincoln Road, along Lenox Avenue and Lincoln Lane. Michael Comras of The Comras Co. said Lincoln Road is one of the world’s most beloved destinations for shopping, dining, art and entertainment.
“The addition of new Class A office and retail space in the Lincoln Road District will bring greater connectivity and grow the neighborhood’s appeal in the eyes of locals. Surface parking lots diminish the pedestrian experience, which is why cities around the world—including Miami Beach—often use them for infill redevelopment,” said Comras in a press release.
The Gardens at Lincoln Lane could spur additional private sector investment and create new revenue to enable the city to continue to invest in Miami Beach, according to Victor Ballestas of Integra Investments.
“As Miami Beach takes steps to diversify its economy and highlight its position as a world-class destination for business and residents, the city is leveraging the expertise of private developers capable of delivering Class A office space within the Lincoln Road District,” Ballestas said.
Nearly 20 teams expressed interest in the development opportunity, and Lincoln Road Property Owners was one of two entities to proceed in ground lease negotiations. Miami Beach voters will need to approve the plans in a November referendum if the Miami Beach City Commission approves.
“I think it’s going to be one of the most creative, public-private partnerships to ever take place in Miami Beach,” said Arriola. “ We’re really great at bringing hotel development, building parks and infrastructure, but I don’t think we’ve done something like this in a really long while.”