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Empire World Towers Site in Downtown Miami Sells for $80M

Wow! We can’t take credit for this writing – a story that is all over the local news. Here is the Southeast Real Estate Business version. What is going on here is nothing short of amazing.

 

Empire World Towers Site in Downtown Miami Sells for $80M

The Empire World Towers site is approved for two 93-story towers that can contain 1,557 residential units. Above is a rendering of the project.

MIAMI — Property Markets Group has acquired the Empire World Towers site, a two-acre development site in Miami’s urban core, for $80 million. The site is located downtown at 300-330 Biscayne Blvd.

The Empire World Towers site is approved for two 93-story towers that can contain 1,557 residential units. The mixed-use towers are also approved for 24,741 square feet of retail space and 3,317 square feet of office space. Upon completion, the towers would be the East Coast’s tallest structure south of Manhattan.

The development is situated directly across from Bayfront Park. The Empire World Towers enjoy permanently preserved bay and ocean views. The project will be within walking distance to American Airlines Arena, Miami Dade College, Bayside Marketplace and the 765,000-square-foot Miami World Center Mall, which will soon be developed.

Luis Flores and Rebecca Sarelson of Arnstein & Lehr LLP represented Property Markets Group in the transaction. The seller, a trust established for the benefit of CDR Creances S.A.S., was represented by HFF’s Jaret Turkell, Hermen Rodriguez, Manuel de Zárraga and Scott Wadler.

Marcos Daniel Jiménez and Gregg Fierman of McDermott, Will & Emery represented CDR in the sale and litigation.

“This transaction is highly significant in that it will ultimately reshape the Miami skyline,” says Turkell. “The zoning allows a highly intense development with virtually limitless possibilities.”

Property Markets Group is a New York City-based real estate acquisition and development firm with global real estate assets.

Jobs Will Keep Us Alive

Sorry Don Henley, Glenn Frey and the other Eagles. Love very well may keep us alive yet for the moment, we need jobs. To this end, there has been a lot of chatter in regional and national news about office-using employment.

Recently, one of our respected competitors in the Big Apple distributed some weekly economic news, citing September data from the U.S. Labor Department that 105,000 jobs nationwide were added to the employment roster in positions across three main office-using sectors – financial services, professional and business services, and information services. It is only the fifth time in the past decade that office-using employment increased by more than 100,000 in a single month.

Locally, the Miami office market is in the midst of a slow recovery and some of our commercial real estate sub-markets, such as Coral Gables, are benefiting from the addition of more jobs. Through the first three quarters this year, nearly 200,000 square feet of office space has been positively absorbed in Coral Gables. This may explain why the unemployment rate is among the lowest for a South Florida city, at 4.5 percent

However, if we look at the region’s demographics, population trends and household growth patterns, Downtown Miami is a real head turner.

Consider this: The Greater Downtown, which is comprised of Brickell, the Central Business District, Arts & Entertainment, Wynwood/Edgewater and Overtown neighborhoods, had a population of 33,888 in the 2010 Census. The 2014 estimate for this core area is 44,773 people (about 28% growth!) and the forecast is that by 2019 the Greater Downtown population will exceed 48,000 people, according to the Miami Downtown Development Authority.

The challenge for the office market, however (and as previously stated), is that we are using less space per employee and with office-worker density on the rise, there is less demand for office space. This is why vacancy rates have stayed stubbornly high. Office workers are now averaging about 125 square feet of office space per person and way off the former mark of more than 200 square feet per person. The industry expects that number to get to around 100 per within a few years. European office workers already average just 80 square feet per person.

 

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