A real estate facelift is heading for the Omni area near downtown Miami.
Argent Ventures, which has owned the Omni Center since 2000, will be constructing a six-building mixed-use development. Construction will last for the next 15 years and will cost $1 billion dollars.
The 1 million square foot area at 1501-1701 Biscayne Boulevard will house 4,208 multi-family residential units, 240,000 square feet of Class A office space and 350,200 square feet of retail space.
Those concerned with the environmental impact of such a construction may be happy to know that Argent Ventures has agreed to build green. “We will apply for the LEED silver standard,” said Lucia Dougherty, the lawyer which represented Argent Ventures at last week’s commission meeting.
This is a very exciting time for downtown Miami as the area that used to house the Omni Mall has become, according to Ms. Dougherty, an “urban barrier. This is a very unsuccessful project as we know it, and it needs redevelopment.” The current Omni complex has one million square feet of empty retail space, 400,000 square feet of hotel space and one million square feet of concrete parking space. “That cavernous mall design is a dinosaur in today’s market,” says Trammell Crow Executive Vice-President John Bell. “It’s a complete paradigm shift for downtown Miami.”
First step? Demolishing the former anchor of the mall, JCPenney. Then on the north side weâ€™ll see construction of the residential tower and the last phase will be road construction. Parking garages will be designated either residential or retail to avoid comingling their uses. The leases of the Radisson Hotel (15 years) and the Miami International University of Art and Design (12 years) will be honored.
Commissioner Marc Sarnoff declares it a “truly extraordinary project. You are taking what is a pretty big eyesore and creating, although massive, what is a well-developed, thought out, I’ll have to call it a “community,'” he said. “I call this the second Midtown.”