Completed in 2003, Miami's current tallest building is the Four Seasons Hotel and Tower. Having held the title for over ten years, it's about time for the 240-metre tower to have some company at the top. Florida's largest metropolis is entering an exciting phase in its history as it experiences explosive growth, especially in the residential sector. The development boom is producing applications for some of the tallest buildings in the United States, although these projects must obtain approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Height limits imposed by the FAA — meant to ensure clear flight paths to and from Miami International Airport — may even need to be raised in order to accommodate the tremendous growth downtown.
With dozens of skyscrapers either under construction or proposed in the city, we take a look at the tallest towers for which applications have been submitted. Each of these projects will, if built as proposed, overtake the Four Seasons Hotel in height, creating an incredible shift in the skyline's peak.
To start, an influx of Chinese money could create the city's tallest building at 326 metres. China City Construction Corp. and American Da Tang Group have partnered with the prolific architecture firm Arquitectonica to conceive the $875-million CCCC Towers at 1420 South Miami Avenue. The mixed-use project would contain a hotel, office space, condominiums and retail. No renderings depicting the final design have yet been made public.
Though construction likely won't begin until 2017, Swire Properties' One Brickell City Centre is also vying to become Miami's tallest building. To be constructed as the second phase of the transformative Brickell City Centre project, the FAA has granted approval to the 317-metre building which proposes a healthy mix of hotel rooms, offices, condominiums, and retail.
Another mixed-use project promises to add more density to the core, and its first phase is now under construction. As part of All Aboard Florida's MiamiCentral transportation hub, which will provide passenger rail to Orlando in three hours, a 'supertower' has been planned for the site. One million square feet of offices, hotel suites and condominiums would be housed within the structure, which had originally been proposed at 341 metres and around 80 storeys. The exact height being sought is somewhat shrouded in mystery, but an application to the FAA suggests 302 metres is being requested. Shorter towers to the north would be built first, with the 'supertower' commencing construction during the second phase.
The hotel and office complex dubbed One Bayfront Plaza has also received a nod from the FAA to rise 306 metres. Developed by Florida East Coast Realty and designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates with Terra Architecture, the twisting tower has gone through several design iterations. Original plans included an observation deck on the 80th floor, though the idea may have been shelved.
Two more developments recently approved by the FAA include the twin-tower residential complex Villa Magna — which will top out at 303 metres — and the World Trade Center of the Americas. The 77-storey tower at 340 Biscayne Boulevard would replace an existing 10-storey Holiday Inn with 400 residential units, 240 hotel rooms, retail, and nearly 250,000 square feet of office space. The 291-metre tower has been envisioned once again by Arquitectonica, who has been retained by developers BH Downtown Miami and ITC Center Miami.
The Related Group of Florida is also getting into the action by proposing three towers at 444 Brickell Avenue. In what's becoming a common theme for these projects, One Brickell would consist of hotel, office, residential, and retail space. The tallest tower of the undulating trio would rise 80 storeys.
On a lot neighbouring the Miami Tower — famous for its vibrant night lighting scheme — Wharton Equity Partners have their names attached to a development that would bring three towers to the site of the former Lynx project. Featuring a design by Kobi Karp, the tallest tower could top out at 80 storeys. Based in the city, Kobi Karp also worked on the Empire World Towers, a planned two-tower development at 300 Biscayne Boulevard that has since been redesigned. While no renderings are available, Property Markets Group is now proposing 500 residential units in a tower exceeding 300 metres on that site.
The Sieger Suarez Architectural Partnership has submitted plans for Liquid Lofts, a 76-storey, 482-unit residential tower proposed at 264 metres. Set to occupy the site of a parking garage at 37 SW 1st Street, only a grayscale depiction of the tower has been made public. Similarly, plans for the Banco Santander Tower have restarted, though the Kohn Pedersen Fox design pictured below may no longer be current.
Several other major towers are in the works downtown as recent news suggests the days of the Ultramont Mall are over. An application submitted for 101 SE 1 Avenue requests 253 metres, while another retail complex anchored by Marshalls at 255 East Flagler Street would be demolished to make way for two towers, one of which would again cross the supertall benchmark.
There has been some worry of an impending development slowdown, but a repeat of the 2009 crash seems unlikely this time around. If even half of these towers are constructed, Miami's skyline will rival those of the world's largest cities. In fact, the under-construction Panorama Tower by Florida East Coast Realty does not even break the top ten tallest towers making their way through the city's approvals process, though it is climbing to a substantial 253 metres. When fully built, these projects will add retail and thousands of residential, hotel, and office units downtown, quickly contributing to Miami's ascent as one of America's most vibrant cultural and entertainment capitals.
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