UPDATED, 11:55 a.m., Sept. 27: Developer Armando Codina is entering the bidding for Amazon’s second headquarters.
Codina says Codina Partners’ Downtown Doral site checks off Amazon’s boxes – proximity to a major airport, population size, and more – for the $5 billion investment. It will be one of the sites the city is proposing in its bid for the Amazon project.
“This is the mother of all [headquarters] searches,” Codina said. The Miami developer has built headquarters for Ryder in Miami, Bacardi in Coral Gables, and IBM and Office Depot, both in Boca Raton.
Amazon plans to build in a major metropolitan area, within 45 minutes of an airport, near quality universities, and with a population of over 1 million people.
The Seattle-based company’s checklist for its planned HQ2 includes low taxes, incentives, proximity to mass transit and “presence and support of a diverse population.” The e-commerce giant plans to have phase 1, a building with more than 500,000 square feet, completed by 2019. After 2027, its footprint will grow to up to 8 million square feet. Amazon plans to give priority to undeveloped, shovel-ready greenfield sites and infill opportunities.
Together with the adjacent White Course, Codina says he has the required 100 acres of land for Amazon. He said he is open to leasing or selling the land and would reconfigure some of the property, originally set aside for condo development, for Amazon. “Where [else] do you find 100 acres in the middle of an urban area?” Codina said. “All of the components they could possible want are there.”Downtown Doral is just northwest of Miami International Airport, and has permits needed for the building size of the first phase of Amazon’s headquarters.
Once it’s all completed, Codina’s master-planned community will have more than 1 million square feet of commercial space, 600,000 square feet of Class A office space and 5,000 residential units. It includes a city hall, charter school, townhouses, single-family homes and up to eight condo towers. Baptist Health South Florida recently signed a 15-year lease for the second phase of retail. Baptist will open an Express Care location on the northeast corner of Northwest 53rd Street and Northwest 84th Avenue, directly across from Downtown Doral Charter Elementary School which opened last year. Publix is also slated to open by the end of the year.
Leaders from South Florida’s three counties announced last week that they will put together a joint bid to submit to Amazon. Critics have said the region lacks good public transportation, but Codina said Downtown Doral has a bus and trolley system, “and we have a lot of people in Downtown Doral that are already living, working, going to school there.” The city will submit a proposal by the Oct. 19 deadline.
Cities like Los Angeles, Orlando and Chicago have already announced their plans to enter the race.
“If Downtown Doral doesn’t get it, I hope it comes to Florida,” Codina said, later adding that he hopes “the state of Florida will get their act together and put their best foot forward.”