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Miami Beach looks to a new luxury money-maker: Office space

Developers will likely be invited to bid on three parking lots near the entertainment district that could be turned into office space.
Developers will likely be invited to bid on three parking lots near the entertainment district that could be turned into office space.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A recent spate of visitor crime and a COVID-crashed tourist service industry have Miami Beach looking in a new direction — luring money-makers with the office space they need.

“We’re so heavily dependent on tourism and hospitality here in Miami Beach, could we do something to diversify, and thereby strengthen our local economy?” says Miami Beach Commissioner Ricky Arriola.

Commercial office space may not be as sexy as sun, fun and clubbing, but the money it could bring is turning heads.

“It’s all about infusing new capital, new economics to the daily population,” says commercial realtor Lyle Stern.

The idea started pre-pandemic, with a noticeable influx of uber-wealthy people leaving high-tax states.

“We were getting calls from commercial brokers, from high-end residential brokers, whose customers were buying homes on the beach and they were looking office space,” Stern says.

So the city chose three parking lots near the entertainment district city center and put out feelers. Would developers be interested in building that luxury office space of the future?

Seventeen responded yes, even as signs indicate that working remotely may be a new normal post-pandemic.

“I think the absorption rate will be very high because we’re not going to be building a lot of it,” Arriola said. “But it’s going to be extremely high-end to cater to the local market.”

They’re telling locals that developers will have to replace the parking — locals they might need to vote on developing the public lots.

The idea will be discussed this week in a city committee, and it looks like they’ll move forward with the invitation for developers to put in bids.


About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."