Openings

The Wharf Miami to Anchor Expansive $185 Million Riverside Wharf Complex

The Wharf Miami will soon transform into Wharf Riverside, a large-scale reimagining of the city's well-known riverfront space.
The Wharf Miami will soon transform into Wharf Riverside, a large-scale reimagining of the city's well-known riverfront space. Rendering courtesy of Riverside Wharf
The Wharf Miami will soon transform into something much larger.

This month, Miami developer and Breakwater Hospitality partner Alex Mantecon and Breakwater cofounder Emi Guerra announced their partnership with Driftwood Capital for Riverside Wharf, a large-scale entertainment complex situated along the Miami River where the Wharf currently stands. Miami Worldcenter Associates developer and Merrimac Ventures managing partner Nitin Motwani is also a partner in the project.

Riverside Wharf has been a long time in the making, Alex Mantecon tells New Times, describing a series of moves that have included five acquisitions over the years and culminating with a long-term lease obtained in 2016 for the parcel of land adjacent to the Wharf Miami.

"From there, we started coming up with ideas of what the project could look like," Mantecon says. "One thing we always envisioned was a hotel, and we've been working with the city to get the approvals in place over the past few years."

At ten stories, the $185 million mixed-use development will rise on the current site of the Wharf Miami and the abutting vacant parcel. The 1.5-acre, 200,000-square-foot, two-tower development is slated to break ground in 2022, with a projected completion date sometime in 2025.

Over the course of 2022, the team promises the Wharf will remain open during the initial stages of construction.

"The Wharf was always going to be temporary. When we first acquired the site, there was no real history to see if it would be a successful location for what we hoped to do here," Emi Guerra reveals. "We never knew how long it would last, but we consider ourselves fortunate the Wharf has lasted this long. Moreso, we're excited to be able to grow the concept into something more permanent."

Guerra says the team plans to retain what Miamiams know and love about the Wharf, with expansive river views along an expanded riverwalk and several open-air culinary activations.

"It will be built better than the current layout, and hopefully become a staple that serves as a cultural hub that ties the entire Wharf Riverside complex together," Mantecon promises.

He says Riverside Wharf will be an entertainment destination that will serve to elevate the entire Miami River District.
click to enlarge The Riverside Wharf complex will include the Dream hotel. - RENDERING COURTESY OF RIVERSIDE WHARF
The Riverside Wharf complex will include the Dream hotel.
Rendering courtesy of Riverside Wharf
"We're trying to create a legacy project that will be transformative, with everything from morning activations all the way through to late-night an entertainment," Mantecon says. "It will be like nothing else Miami has ever seen."

Designed by Jon Cardello of Cube3 architects with landscape design by Savino Miller Design Studio, the complex will include the reimagining and expansion of the Wharf Miami in addition to a 165-room luxury hotel, several signature restaurants, an event hall, a nightclub and rooftop day club, and a private marina capable of accommodating mega-yachts.

The plan includes a long-term agreement with Dream Hotel Group, which operates properties in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Bangkok, and most recently Nashville.

The complex will also house at least two standalone food-and-beverage establishments, as well as several onsite curated food and beverage options.

"We are in conversations with food and beverage offerings now, with the idea to bring top-quality, world-class concepts to helm the project," Mantecon says. "We want to make sure we do it right."

Guerra names one potential tenant: a satellite location of Garcia’s Fish Market, with a smaller establishment and retail market the group feels will pay homage to the property's commercial fishing history.

"What makes this whole project unique is the marina. There's really no place like this in South Florida where you pull up in your yacht, go to a restaurant, go to a club, and get back on your boat and leave," Guerra says. "That's really what sets it apart."

Adds Mantecon: "We are excited to finally bring to fruition the dream and vision Miami has had for its riverfront entertainment district which until now has historically sat vacant and underutilized."

Breakwater Hospitality Group operates the Wharf Miami, the Wharf Fort Lauderdale, Rivertail, Ch’i in Brickell, and the Piefather. In 2022, Breakwater will reopen the much-missed Coral Gables Irish pub JohnMartin’s.
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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna