Miami Worldcenter’s 1st Tower Comes on Line

Nitin Motwani, managing principal at Miami Worldcenter Associates, speaks in depth about the milestone for the $4 billion project—one of the largest of its kind in the U.S.—located near the Brightline at MiamiCentral.

Named after the Spanish word for mahogany, a tropical hardwood, Caoba Apartments is the first tower to open at Miami Worldcenter, the 27-acre, $4 billion mixed-use development in the heart of the city’s urban core. Featuring 444 luxury units, the development is move-in ready one year after topping off, with the first residents already enjoying their studios or one- to three-bedroom apartments.

Nitin Motwani, Managing Principal, Miami Worldcenter Associates
Nitin Motwani, Managing Principal, Miami Worldcenter Associates

Located at 698 N.E. First Ave., two blocks south of Interstate 395, Caoba includes more than 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space for shops and restaurants. As one of the largest projects currently underway in the country, Miami Worldcenter connects the city’s central business district with its Arts & Entertainment District. The delivery of Caoba is a cornerstone for the large-scale development that has been in the works for 15 years.

Nitin Motwani, managing principal at Miami Worldcenter Associates—the joint venture behind the development, details why the completion of the 43-story building is a major step forward.

Who were your partners in the development of Caoba and how was your collaboration along the way?

Motwani: Caoba was co-developed by CIM Group and Falcone Group. Both firms have been involved in the development of Miami Worldcenter dating back several years, helping to bring our master plan to life. Based in South Florida, Falcone Group offers a local perspective and extensive experience on the residential housing side, while CIM Group brings a national portfolio and deep relationships across various asset classes.

What difficulties did you overcome in order to be able to deliver this first tower?

Motwani: Caoba is the first element of our 27-acre city within a city in the heart of downtown Miami, which is one of the country’s fastest growing urban areas. There will be some element of disruption at street level anytime you’re developing in a highly active, densely populated area, but we’ve gone to great lengths to minimize impacts on our neighbors and keep them informed of our progress. This level of community engagement has always been a priority of ours, dating back to when we were seeking initial approval for our plans. Our team hosted dozens of community meetings, spent countless hours listening to nearby residents and business owners and ultimately came away with unanimous approval at more than 10 public meetings.

Please describe the types of apartments that Caoba includes and tell us a bit more about residents’ profile.   

Motwani: One of the best things about Caoba is that our floorplans range from studios to three bedrooms, which creates a diverse set of price points. In the first month of leasing, we’ve seen a great deal of interest among young professionals, students, families and even empty nesters who have decided to downsize and relocate to an urban, walkable environment that’s just steps away from many of Miami’s most beloved amenities, be it the Museum Park, the American Airlines Arena or the performing arts center.

In our first two weeks of leasing, we already have 200 people on our waitlist and our team is now converting those contracts. The majority of these folks are already living in and around downtown and 25 percent are out-of-towners looking to relocate.

January 2018 vs. January 2019
January 2018 vs. January 2019

What types of amenities will residents enjoy?

Motwani: Residents at Caoba will find features like 9-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling glass, contemporary finishes, in-unit washers and dryers and private balconies offering sweeping views of Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline. The tower also features a 10th-floor resort-style pool deck overlooking downtown, rooftop fitness center, clubroom with a fully equipped kitchen and outdoor dog-walking lawn. One of the biggest draws is Caoba’s transit connectivity, with six transportation systems within two blocks, including the Brightline rail system, soon to be Virgin Trains, which is a three-minute walk away.

How will Caoba fit into Miami’s luxury housing market?

Motwani: Caoba’s debut coincides with steadily growing demand for residential living in downtown Miami. According to the Miami Downtown Development Authority’s 2018 demographics report, the neighborhood’s residential population has grown by nearly 40 percent since 2010 to 92,235 residents and the number of people spending each weekday in downtown now eclipses 250,000. This growth underscores downtown’s transformation from a 9-to-5 business district into a vibrant 24/7 community over the past decade.

Miami Worldcenter as a whole will be home to at least three rental towers and one luxury condo, offering a variety of price points for potential residents. Caoba fits squarely into the luxury rental segment, with prices starting at $1,775 per month.

How important is this milestone for the development team?

Motwani: The opening of Caoba is a huge step for us and our city. We’ve spent years formulating the right master plan for our neighborhood and assembling the right team of collaborators, including Marriott, Hines, ZOM, Forbes, Taubman and MDM Group. People have been hearing about Miami Worldcenter for a decade and now we can actually point to a finished tower at Caoba. For our residents, this is a chance to live at the intersection of arts, entertainment, education, retail and transit—introducing an element of convenience, proximity and walkability that is new to Miami’s urban core.

What is next for Miami Worldcenter?  

Motwani: The opening of Caoba is the first in a string of milestones that will take place at Miami Worldcenter this year. Over the coming months, we’ll see Paramount Miami Worldcenter condominium completed, our 348-room citizenM hotel break ground and 150,000 square feet of retail space deliver. Luma, a 434-unit apartment tower by ZOM, will also break ground in 2019.

Images courtesy of Miami Worldcenter Associates