South Florida, together with Arizona and Texas, has grown as an attractive alternative for New York City and Silicon Valley companies looking to relocate to more business-friendly markets. Miami in particular has garnered a lot of attention, as local authorities launched several programs offering economic incentives for businesses to relocate or open offices in the metro.
This influx of employers has had an impact on demand for rental properties and on tenant preferences. While the metro is not considered a walkable city, transit-oriented developments are aiming to change the way residents live, work and play.
One of these examples is CORE Link at Douglas, a 7-acre mixed-use, transit-oriented development taking shape at the confluence of Miami’s two most sought-after neighborhoods—Coconut Grove and Coral Gables. The project will comprise 1,500 residential units, a 250,000-square-foot office building, more than 30,000 square feet of retail space and a public plaza that connects with The Underline linear park.
The project is being developed by a joint venture of Miami-based real estate developers 13th Floor Investments and Adler Development, and global investment manager Barings. Adler Group CEO Jonathan Raiffe talked to Multi-Housing News about the project’s particularities and construction challenges as development advances.
What was your inspiration for Link at Douglas?
Raiffe: Link at Douglas was planned with the idea of bringing a new standard for urban living to the area—with luxury apartments, popular retail concepts, dining and entertainment catering to residents of Miami who are looking for ways to avoid road congestion through public transit while seeking a more connected and walkable lifestyle.
What elements of the development set it apart from other mixed-use projects in the area?
Raiffe: Now more than ever, residents are looking for luxurious yet attainable rental units that have access to public transit and are within walking distance from entertainment, shopping and dining.
Located along Miami’s U.S. Route 1 and Douglas Road, CORE Link at Douglas—a 312-unit multifamily tower—is perfectly situated at the confluence of Coral Gables and Coconut Grove, two of Miami’s most vibrant neighborhoods.
The University of Miami is one Metrorail stop or a short bike ride away, and countless restaurants, retail shops and entertainment options are within close proximity, including the open-air shopping destinations of Shops at Merrick Park and CocoWalk.
The transit-oriented development offers direct access to Miami-Dade County’s Metrorail system, Miami-Dade bus lines and the Coral Gables Trolley, making car-free living a viable option for residents. It also connects neighboring communities such as Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Brickell, Downtown Miami and the Health District.
Directly underneath the property, residents can enjoy outdoor activities along The Underline, a 10-mile linear park under development that spans from downtown Miami to south Miami.
How has the pandemic impacted the construction timeline of CORE Link at Douglas?
Raiffe: We faced a few challenges during construction; these were not necessarily pegged to the pandemic, since we followed safety guidelines along the way ensuring our workers’ health and safety.
One pf the challenges faced when starting to plan for construction was the property not being large enough to house a pool on the ground level, so the project team decided on a rooftop pool. This ended up being an even better solution since CORE offers spectacular city and waterfront views.
The streets around the property had limited access to US-1. We had to work closely with multiple government agencies and municipalities, including the city of Miami, the city of Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County and the Florida Department of Transportation, to create additional access by redesigning the streets with a traffic circle to enhance access and circulation—making a significant investment in off-site improvements.
Which amenities at CORE Link at Douglas do you expect to be the most sought-after by future residents?
Raiffe: CORE residents will enjoy lifestyle-driven amenities such as a rooftop pool deck with stunning views of the bay and the city, poolside grilling and private cabanas, as well as a fitness center with a yoga studio, business center and media room.
The business center was designed with multiple workspaces, private offices, a conference room, an outdoor work terrace, a printing station and other features that make working from home a productive and enjoyable experience. A social lounge will come complete with billiards, shuffleboard, pingpong and a furnished seating area centered on a fireplace. Other amenities include a secured package room, dog washroom, bike storage, and Wi-Fi in all common areas.
What type of tenants do you have in mind for the project’s 280,000-square-foot office component?
Raiffe: The office component will sit on the most prominent area of the site, optimizing the location for both views and presence along the US-1 corridor. There are some themes that are attracting tenants in a broad cross-industry sense.
Connectivity to transit, surrounding commercial and public space amenities and the supply of high-quality residential offerings within the immediate area to name a few. A few more specific examples are life sciences or tech firms that see the development as an even more compelling option given the close proximity to academic and health nodes within Miami.
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How will CORE Link at Douglas complement the Coconut Grove and Coral Gables areas, two of Miami’s hottest neighborhoods?
Raiffe: CORE Link at Douglas will connect two of Miami’s most beautiful cities. Being the first of several transit-oriented, public-private-partnership developments approved by Miami-Dade County, the mobility plan includes connectivity to Metrorail, county buses and municipal trolleys.
The development will incorporate over $17 million in public infrastructure improvements, including renovating the Metrorail station, adding a public plaza with various retail offerings and upgrading a section of The Underline linear park.
How do you think the Miami multifamily market will perform in the second half of the year and beyond?
Raiffe: Miami’s multifamily market is one of the best performing asset classes coming out of the pandemic, proving the strength of the region’s real estate market and the demand for high-quality rental apartments with lifestyle amenities.
With initial leasing efforts underway at CORE, we are already seeing strong leasing activity. We expect Miami’s multifamily market to remain strong in the second half of the year, as the economy continues to strengthen and the region sees steady population growth.
Additionally, CORE Link at Douglas offers a unique housing option given that the project is in a strategic location in close proximity to Miami’s most popular neighborhoods, sits above The Underline linear park and offers direct access to several types of public transit.