By: Gordon Messinger
If you’ve ever attended Wynwood Art Walk or visited one of the neighborhood’s many popular restaurants and bars (and you likely have!), then you know that the area has quickly become a top Miami destination for both local and international visitors. Looking at Wynwood now, it’s hard to believe that the area was a struggling, largely forgotten industrial district little more than a decade ago. Today, Wynwood is a thriving arts district which, according to the Wynwood Business Improvement District, houses the largest collection of street art in the country, 30-plus restaurants, and more than 400 businesses — all within a compact, 50-city-block area. This activity, along with a new neighborhood zoning code enacted two years ago to encourage diverse land uses beyond Wynwood’s traditional industrial roots, have opened the door to new office development for the first time in the neighborhood’s history and created a new office market for Greater Miami in the process.
Several other factors are aligning to support new office projects in Wynwood, including favorable underlying market dynamics. Miami has posted consistent job gains in recent years, with Miami-Dade County’s Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources Q3 Labor Market Report citing 29 consecutive quarters of growth. With these positive jobs numbers, it’s no surprise that office leasing activity surged in Miami in the fourth quarter of 2017, with over 1 million square feet executed, according to Cushman and Wakefield’s Miami Market Report. This, coupled with minimal new office product, especially in and around the urban core, has created pent up demand for office space in the area.
Of course, “location, location, location!” is always a determining factor in real estate development, and Wynwood has it. The neighborhood is centrally located, just minutes from Downtown, Brickell, and Miami Beach — but without the heavy traffic that hampers those areas. And while traditional office buildings haven’t been available to date in Wynwood, adaptive re-use has allowed for businesses in the tech and creative industries to establish offices in former warehouse spaces there in recent years. Case in point: Miami’s first co-working space, Lab Miami, opened its doors in Wynwood six years ago and kick-started a local office trend. New restaurants and coffee shops for workers to network and hold meetings add to the neighborhood’s business appeal.
Today, there are two purpose-built office buildings under construction in the Wynwood Arts District and another just outside its boundaries. Wynwood Annex, a project for which I am the exclusive leasing agent, is being developed by a partnership between East End Capital and Related Group, and will offer 60,000 square feet of office space over eight floors, self-contained parking, and an additional 4,900 square feet of ground-floor retail space. The building is slated for completion in summer of 2019 and is geared toward tenants in the technology, advertising, marketing and innovation sectors looking for boutique space. Cube Wynwd, a RedSky Capital development, is also currently under construction and will bring another 80,000 square feet of office space to the district, along with onsite retail. The building is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2018. Gateway Wynwood, located at the dividing line between Wynwood and Midtown, is being developed by Rose & Berg. It will bring 200,000 square feet of office space across eight floors and will also offer ground-floor retail. Gateway is expected to be completed in 2019.
Wynwood has experienced a rapid transformation into one of Miami’s most desirable neighborhoods, and this progress is set to continue. With the addition of new office offerings over the next year, and new residential buildings in the pipeline, the area will soon become a place where people not only enjoy art, food, drink, and culture — but also a unique urban living experience and an inspired work environment unlike anything else available in the South Florida market.
Gordon Messinger is managing director at Cushman and Wakefield.