Plans sought for 400,00 square foot business center by Lincoln Road in South Beach

Tourists and shoppers walk down Lincoln Road in Miami Beach on Sunday, July 12, 2020.

Tourists and shoppers walk down Lincoln Road in Miami Beach on Sunday, July 12, 2020.

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How would a business district look beside the popular Lincoln Road? City of Miami Beach officials aim to find out.

The City of Miami Beach Commission is seeking proposals to add office space just steps away from Lincoln Road Mall, which stretches from Alton Road to Washington Avenue, according to a press release.

The request earlier this month came after commissioners received 18 letters of interest from local and national developers earlier this year, which was the first step by commissioners in their effort to diversify the area. Proposals are due in October and will be evaluated in November, according to a timetable issued by the city.

Commissioners are looking to add almost 400,000 square feet of office space on three parking lots located between Lincoln Road and 17th Street, near Regal Cinemas South Beach, Colony Theatre and City Hall. Under the plan, the developer would enter into a 99-year lease with the city and pay for construction costs.

If completed, the project could draw more foot traffic to the stores and restaurants lining the eight blocks of Lincoln Road Mall. Since Miami Beach pioneer Carl Fisher established the retail strip during the 1920s, the mall has seen its share of highs and lows, and in recent years has struggled with a dwindling number of customers and high rents. Still, a handful of new tenants have opened shops and many are betting on the success of a planned $67 million makeover led by James Corner Field Operations, the same firm that designed the High Line in Manhattan.

“Although the Commission can reject any bids, we expect the proposals to be extremely compelling and of the highest caliber as many serious companies have their eyes set on Miami Beach,” said Commissioner Ricky Arriola. “Miami Beach can attract financial service companies and high-tech businesses that bring higher-paying jobs and a diversified tax base to our community.”

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City of Miami Beach commissioners want to replace three parking lots, outlined above in yellow, with office space. City of Miami Beach

Miami Beach officials are trying to diversify the city’s economy, long dependent on the tourism and hospitality businesses slammed by the pandemic.

Demand for the Miami Beach office market remains strong, said Stephen Rutchik, a Colliers office broker. Asking rents for Class A new office space is “easily exceeding $60 per square foot, which is up more than 10% year-over-year.” It’s also about 20% higher than the average $50 per square foot asking rents across Miami, according to data from a JLL Office Insight report earlier this year.

Other office projects are in the pipeline for Miami Beach, Rutchik said, including Deco Capital’s Eighteen Sunset in Sunset Harbour and Related Group’s Terminal Island project.