By: Paul Owers
Arts District North of Downtown Becoming Destination For Residents, Businesses
With young professionals eager to ditch their cars and walk to work, office and multifamily development stands to more than triple over the next few years in Wynwood, the trendy arts district 10 blocks north of downtown Miami, a new report shows.
Wynwood could gain nearly 1 million square feet of offices in nine new projects under construction or in the pipeline, according to an independent market report prepared by Integra Realty Resources. The neighborhood has 250,000 square feet of existing offices.
Wynwood currently has 403 apartment units, but more than 1,200 units are under construction or proposed, the report found.
Among the rentals in the works: The Bradley Wynwood, a five-story building with 175 micro-unit rentals at 51 NW 26th St., and Wynwood 25, a 289-unit apartment complex at 215-339 NW 24th St. The Related Group is building Wynwood 25 with East End Capital and is working with singer Lenny Kravitz’s design company, Kravitz Design of New York City, on The Bradley.
The new office and multifamily developments will feed more than 1.3 million square feet of existing and planned retail in Wynwood.
“People want to live where they work and they want to play where they work,” said Albert Garcia, vice chairman of the Wynwood Business Improvement District, a special taxing authority created five years ago by the property owners. “They want to experience the full day and the full nightlife in the same neighborhood.”
From the 1950s to the early ‘90s, the 50-block industrial corridor was Miami’s garment district. But market forces eventually moved those jobs overseas, leaving Wynwood a mostly crime-ridden area with graffiti sprayed across the abandoned warehouses, Garcia said.
In the early 2000s, art galleries moved into the neighborhood and street art and murals started drawing crowds. Restaurants and cafes soon followed, but the neighborhood lacked residential and office components, brokers say.
Tenants from the technology, advertising, media and information fields are seeking an alternative to the traditional downtown office market and will find it at Wynwood, said Stephen Rutchik, a broker for Colliers International.
Rutchik is handling leasing for Gateway at Wynwood, a 225,000-square-foot building at 2916 N. Miami Ave. that has not yet broken ground. Another project, Sterling Bay’s 545 Wyn, a 209,000-square-foot building at 537 NW 26th St., will be unveiled in late November.
Both projects are being built on speculation, without firm commitments from tenants.
“The minute they deliver, they will be extremely successful,” Rutchik said. “There’s so much pent-up demand.”
Some real estate observers are skeptical that Wynwood will become a viable office market serving law firms, professional service firms and corporate users.
But those types of tenants are bound to move to Wynwood eventually, said Kevin Gonzalez, a CBRE senior associate who oversees leasing at 545 Wyn.
Gonzalez said he has represented companies that strongly considered Wynwood and only passed on the neighborhood because there isn’t an established office market there already. Progressive firms view Wynwood as an asset in attracting young talent, Gonzalez added.
“There is a want from corporate users to be in Wynwood because of the cachet it brings,” he said.