Megamall and Residential Towers Coming to Downtown Miami

Brickell Citicentre was one of the most ambitious development projects announced during the height of Miami's epic construction boom, but it canceled after the bottom fell out of the market in 2007. The project's collection of skyscrapers would have forever altered the Miami skyline, while its massive retail space would have gone a long way to making the area feel more livable. Well, Miami's economy might not be back fully, but the project is under a new developer, and construction could begin as soon as this year.

The $700 million project would stretch along four blocks bordered by Brickell Avenue on the east, SW First Avenue on the west, and between SW Sixth and Eighth streets. The project would result in 4.6 million square feet of retail space, condos, offices, a hotel, and restaurants.

Though the original plan called for three megaskyscrapers, the new plan designed by Arquitectonica consists of five towers.

"This is the biggest private works project in the U.S. this year; this is the biggest private works project in America," Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff tells NBC Miami. "It's going to bring Miami into the epicenter of retail shopping, and that includes Coral Gables and even Aventura."

Developers believe the project would create 1,700 construction jobs over the four years it takes to complete and then 3,800 permanent jobs once it is completed.

The timing might seem odd, but the Miami Herald says it's par for the course for Swire, the Hong Kong-based company that revived the project. The company prefers to buy land during a downturn and then begin a project to coincide with an economic uplift.

"When markets are overheated, we tend to not move very fast because the probability of oversupply is very likely," Stephen Owens, president of Swire Properties, tells the Herald. "One of the keys to building now is to be in position when the markets are robust again. If one waits until the obvious indicators are there, then you have a lot more competitors out there and construction costs increase dramatically."

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