Brickell Village center due to get underway in summer
By Sherri C. Ranta
Construction on Mary Brickell Village, a 475,000-square-foot hotel and retail center planned for South Miami Avenue between Ninth and 10th streets, is expected to begin by late summer, developers said.
The planned project, dubbed a "lifestyle center" by its developers, is to serve the area with a mix of tenants appealing to residents and working professionals, said George Giebel, senior vice president and general manage of Constructa.
Constructa, Brasilinvest and Fittipaldi USA are the three principal companies of Brickell Mainstreet Ltd., project developers.
After some delays, Mr. Giebel said construction of Mary Brickell Village, named for one of Miami's original settlers, will be accelerated and combined into one phase. Plans call for 175,000 square feet of two-story retail space and a 300,000-square-foot hotel tower with 280 rooms on a 4-acre site.
"We are trying to develop the next retail prototype celebrating the urban lifestyle and focusing on home and community. It's a type of retail not found in Miami," he said.
The open-air center which will wrap around Perricone's Marketplace & Cafe and incorporates in its design the north side of Allen Morris Park will preserve the lush nature of the neighborhood, Mr. Giebel said.
Three major open-air plazas will dominate the landscape, he said. Mature trees will be incorporated into the design. A large banyan tree will be used at the center of a plaza, Mr. Giebel said.
"The project will blend into the environment. We will not destroy the environment to build the project," Mr. Giebel said.
Retail tenants are expected to include a longevity center that will include health, wellness and beauty services, home furnishing stores, high-end apparel stores and six restaurants. A gourmet supermarket is expected to anchor the center. Completion is expected in Spring 2003.
Miami's Downtown Development Authority Director Patti Allen said she sees nothing but great things for the project, a specialty retail complex that will serve the entire financial district of Brickell Avenue.
"This project is going to do enormously great," she said.
Meanwhile demolition continues at the site where workers will have to bring down 23 buildings, including the Emerson Fittipaldi commercial building.
The project required a major special-use permit, said Lourdes Slazyk, assistant director of planning and zoning for the City of Miami. Lot clearing and demolish permits also have been issued, she said, however a construction permit has not yet been issued.
Some delays were related to the zoning application. Developers had to redesign some of the plan's elements when the city denied their request to build a pedestrian bridge across South Miami Avenue connecting the project, Ms. Slazyk said.
Commissioners denied the request, she said, because the "whole concept of Brickell Village is to keep the pedestrian movement on the ground."