When developer Michael Simkins started snapping up properties in the Southeast Overtown/Park West neighborhood last year no one knew exactly what he had mind. Then plans leaked out to the public that he wanted to build a 633-foot giant LCD advertisement structure — a plan met with much outrage — but Simkins wanted the world to know that that tower was just one feature of a project he dubbed the "Miami Innovation District." It's designed to be Miami's tech hub, a "Silicon Beach," and new in-depth renderings of the project have been making their way around design and architecture blogs this week.
The plan is a collaboration between SHoP Architects, a New York-based studio responsible for Barclays Center in Brooklyn and work for tech companies like Uber and Google, and landscape architects West 8, a Dutch studio best known locally for the Miami Beach Soundscape Park.
The project will take up 10 acres across four blocks, and features 3,850,000 square feet of office space, 2,400,000 square feet of housing, and a little bit of retail space taking up 250,000 square feet. The result is something of a campus. In fact, some of the housing may be downright dorm-like. The project would include 300-square-foot micro-apartments aimed at young workers who may not otherwise be able to afford rent in Miami's urban core. (Finally, downtown housing not aimed firmly at foreign investors who won't actually live in them.)
The development will also have an area known as "the cloud level," and it has nothing to do with where you store your iPhone photos.
"The cloud level, the signature feature of the plan, will be a floating 'mixing chamber' featuring shared amenities such as daycare and tech support, informal work and exhibition spaces, and facilities for continuing education," reads a release sent to design blog Dezeen. That level will connect the main tower 61 feet above the ground as a sort of elevated green space.
Oh, and there will be 2,500 parking spots throughout the complex.
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Naturally, the design and architecture sites' rundowns of the project leave out the controversy over the idea — namely, that no one is exactly thrilled about a giant 633-foot, LCD-covered advertising tower. Local Overtown residents, meanwhile, have been so frustrated with the developer that someone resorted to arson on one of the bulldozers.
However the project promises to give a $5 million lump sum to hte Southeast Overtown/Park West CRA and at least $1 million or 3 percent of sales from the tower each year. The project will also include temporary local construction jobs for residents, and 700 permanent jobs specifically for Overtown residents.