10 Sep BRIGHTLINE HELPS EASE DOWNTOWN TRAFFIC WHILE MIAMI WORLDCENTER LIKELY TO ADD CONGESTION
September 10, 2018 – As the revitalization of downtown Miami continues to heat up, the Miami Worldcenter is starting to make waves as it gets closer to opening. Many developers in Miami began shifting gears last year as they prepared for potential market changes by modifying or even canceling pending projects. However, when it comes to the opening of the new Brightline commuter train, developers are quite happy with how it has positively affected the downtown market. “We’ve enjoyed a wonderful relationship with them [Brightline], in their development with ours,” said Nitin Motwani, managing principal and developer for Miami Worldcenter. While the Brightline is successfully making other parts of Florida more easily accessible and has helped relieve some of the highway congestion, is it too early to know how the additional developments will affect the ever-clogged streets of downtown Miami.
In spring of 2020, the Miami Worldcenter is projected to complete the retail and parking components, adding about 365,000 square feet of store-front space to an already crowded and congested area. While the additional parking is helpful, parking in downtown Miami has long been considered a nightmare that often keeps potential visitors away. Some buildings have even going as far to pay residents to nix their spaces in exchange for pricing incentives.
The Miami Worldcenter is also on the verge of finishing two of its residential towers. The first of these is Caoba, which clocks in at 43 stories, 444 units, and an additional 20,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. The second of the two is Paramount Miami Worldcenter, reaching 60 stories and 562 luxury units, and amenity space that includes an indoor basketball court, full size outdoor soccer field, boxing area, game room, rooftop observatory, golf simulator, 26 pool cabanas, and 5,000 square-foot skyport for landing of passenger drones, or even flying cars (yes, you read that right).
While the skyport for Jetson style flying cars would certainly aid in easing traffic, the promise of personal commuter aircraft has been talked about for decades and unfortunately the technology to produce them has not caught up to buildings prepared to accommodate them. Retail space and thousands of slated additional residential units currently under construction will certainly continue to add to the already congested downtown.
The Brightline, and improvements to the Miami MetroMover are currently the only major posed solutions to the ever-growing traffic problems we face in Downtown Miami. Thankfully, developers from the Worldcenter are partnering with Miami-Dade to contribute resources to make the Miami MetroMover experience as smooth as possible to encourage the use of it. The Worldcenter has agreed to dump $3.2 million into the Freedom Tower station and will pay the city $6,735 in rent for the next 90 years, with additional plans to renovate the Park West Center as well that will connect directly to the Worldcenter via escalator.
All in all, there certainly is room for a change in the traffic patterns and potential for a more pedestrian friendly city as projects like the Brightline prove to be successful. The introduction of bikes & scooters on demand as well as ride-sharing and car-sharing programs are promising, but have often been met with push back from the local municipalities. It will take cooperation from developers, politicians and residents themselves willing to forgo their four wheels for alternative means of travel for us to have a truly walkable city such as New York.