Miami voters approve redevelopment of Knight Center into ultra-tall tower

Posted on 9 November 2022 by South Florida Business Journal

Voters in the city of Miami approved plans to redevelop the James L. Knight Center and the Hyatt Regency Hotel into a mixed-use project along the Miami River.

The third tower in the project would rise 1,049 feet, making it the tallest building in Florida.

With 199 of 209 precincts reporting, 64% of Miami voters were in favor of the measure, giving it a solid victory. The vote paves the way for the city to amend its lease for the 4-acre site at 400 S. Second Ave. with Chicago-based Hyatt (NYSE: H) and Miami-based Gencom in order to foster redevelopment. Developed in 1982, it currently has a 615-room hotel and the 4,500-seat Knight Center.

With the lease being extended from 45 to 99 years, both buildings would be demolished so Hyatt and Gencom can move forward with the $1.5 billion project, dubbed Miami Riverbridge.

“Miami residents have cast their votes, and we’re thrilled with the overwhelming support we’ve earned,” Hyatt and Gencom stated after the vote. “Our plans for a privately funded world-class development and transformed riverfront have been embraced by the community, and we look forward to finalizing our lease with the city of Miami.”

It would feature 1,500 apartments, a new Hyatt Regency Miami hotel with 615 guestrooms and 264 branded apartments, 190,000 square feet of meeting space, and about 12,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space. There would be two 61-story towers and then the 80-story tower.

The developer said the project would include 50,000 square feet of outdoor green space for the public. Most of it would be facing the Miami River.

Construction would be entirely funded by private dollars. The developers would also contribute $25 million to the city’s affordable housing fund.

The developers plan to start construction on the project in 2025. Miami-based Arquitectonica designed the project.

“Hyatt Regency Miami sits between the Brickell Financial District and the Central Business District, making it a vital entry point for people arriving in the area,” Bernardo Fort Brescia of Arquitectonica stated before the vote. “This is an opportunity to rethink the way people will access this site over future decades – by foot, bike, rail, car, and boat. Our vision improves the flow in and out of Downtown and creates vital public space along the Miami River, which is growing in importance as more people live, work, and spend time in the neighborhood.”