Brickell City Centre’s developers celebrated the topping off of its 40-story East Hotel tower with speeches, ribbons tied to a palm tree and a pig roast luncheon for 700 hungry construction workers on Monday.
Swire Properties, which developed condo projects on Brickell Key between the ’80s and 2008, is scheduled to complete the first phase of its $1.05 billion Brickell City Centre project by Dec. 2015. It broke ground in June 2012.
In addition to East, a 263-room hotel with 89 apartments, the first phase includes 565,000 square feet of high-end retail, two Class A office buildings, and a pair of 43-story luxury condos (named Rise and Reach) with 780 residences.
Brian Williams, managing director of Swire Hotels, said he wished his projects in China could be completed as quickly as Brickell City Centre was progressing.
“Last week, I was in Chengdu in Southwest China and if it wasn’t so polluted we could see the Himalayas,” he said in his speech. “…We had a 100 percent record of total failure to meet any deadline that had been set. And I remember standing there, thinking, I wish I had some American-style, Miami-style contractors and construction managers because you guys have done a fantastic job.”
Finishing on-time will also help the project’s bottom line.
“Costs have gone up dramatically,” Swire president Stephen Owens told The Real Deal. He said he’s heard from other developers that construction costs alone have gone up 25 to 30 percent in the last 18 months.
“We suspect that the projects that are coming behind us will have a greater problem [with construction costs] than we have,” Owens said. “But that’s the reality of the dynamic of the growth that Miami is experiencing now…It’s a challenge for the developers because the costs are coming in much higher than anticipated.”
Owens noted that the area near Brickell City Centre’s has come a long way since 2011. Back then, future developments were limited to the Genting Group’s Resorts World Miami by the Miami Herald building and Miami Worldcenter near Overtown. Now there are 11 separate condo projects, totaling 5000 units, under construction and within walking distance of the project.
Owens said that traffic won’t get worse once the development is complete because of the direct access to the Metromover.
“Brickell City Centre was designed to introduce no net new traffic to Brickell Avenue,” he said.