Brickell's office towers to get two day care centers
By Yudislaidy Fernandez
Toddlers could soon become the newest office building tenants in the urban core, as an ordinance change is allowing for urban day cares to open in the greater downtown area.
Two day cares are in the permitting and build-out process to open in Brickell Avenue office towers, one at 1221 Brickell and the other at 1101 Brickell, to provide office workers and condo residents with a nearby day care option.
Many metropolitan areas around the US have embraced the concept of urban day cares, but it wasn't until last December that the City of Miami tweaked its day care ordinance to allow them to open in urban areas, by permit only.
Before, the city required day care centers to have an outdoor playground, a difficult condition to meet in commercial buildings with no outdoor space, said Sarat Dayal, owner of Aunt D's Child Care Centers.
Mr. Dayal, who owns day cares in Broward County in Davie, Pompano Beach and Plantation, also offers turnkey services to develop day care facilities for others, handling the permitting, installing the equipment and instituting regulations. Of these, he's developing several in Miami-Dade, including in Brickell, Doral, Hialeah and Miami Lakes.
Day cares in urban areas are allowed to install indoor playgrounds to meet this key requirement for establishing a day care facility, he said.
In Brickell, Mr. Dayal said he has approved permits to set up a 5,500-square-foot day care for client De Amicis Pre-School on the ground level of 1221 Brickell, a building that benefits from this new lease as it has about 200,000 square feet of offices it needs to fill.
The day care is to offer late service Friday and Saturday nights, he added.
Urban day cares meet a big demand in mix-use neighborhoods.
"No. 1, you have thousands of people working in the building who can use the services, usually trying to find a day care close to home.… Wouldn't it be more convenient for her (a mom) if the day care was close to work?" Mr. Dayal explained. "We also have residential clients as well, but our main attraction is the fact people who work in the building can use the day care and buildings that are nearby, so there's plenty of opportunity."
Mr. Dayal is also in the permitting process to open a 6,000-square-foot day care at 1101 Brickell.
De Amicis Pre-School is to open in the office building at year's end or early next year, said Grant Killingsworth, the tower's leasing agent.
Mr. Killingsworth, vice president of Jones Lang LaSalle, said the pre-school is to occupy a portion of a retail space previously occupied by a gym.
"There are a lot of young families that live in surrounding areas. What a great resource to have a day care facility…," he said. "It was a use that we really wanted to add to the building."
The day care's space sits in the back of the parking garage, closer to Brickell Bay Drive. The building is to assign parking spaces close to the day care during drop-off and pickup times, he said, making it more convenient for parents.
So far, Mr. Killingsworth says he's getting positive feedback from office tenants in the building and nearby condo residents who are interested in sending their children.
"Five, six years ago, you could roll the streets at 5 o'clock," he said, "but now with all these new residential condos and all these amenities in Brickell, this is a place that families are calling home."