Argentine architecture firm Hitzig Militello is opening its first office in the U.S. in Miami, in a bet on the city’s growth as a tech and hospitality hub.
The firm, led by architects Fernando Hitzig and Leonardo Militello, will start operating out of the Minds coworking space at 114 Northwest 25th Street in Wynwood in the next month, Militello said. Plans are to eventually open a permanent office. Over the next year, the firm could hire six architects locally, depending on the number of projects it generates in the U.S. and Miami specifically, as well as in the Caribbean, he said.
“We are creating a whole new team there,” Hitzig said from Buenos Aires. “The idea is to hire local architects because we need all the knowledge for the local regulations.”
The firm has two Miami projects already underway: the first U.S. location for fast-casual restaurant Tostado Café Club in Midtown Miami, and a new spot for a European home products retailer. Hitzig and Militello declined to identify the home products store, only saying that it is moving from its current site in the Miami Design District to a bigger space in the neighborhood.
Hitzig Militello designed more than 15 other Tostado Café Club locations in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.
On the tech front, the firm is making a play for South Florida’s growing popularity among companies from California and New York. Silicon Valley investor and accelerator Plug and Play, which has anted up funds for Google and Dropbox, plans to open an office in downtown Miami’s Flagler district. Also, Microsoft and Citadel both are eyeing the 830 Brickell office tower under development, and Elliott Management is expected to sign at Related Companies’ 360 Rosemary in downtown West Palm Beach.
Hitzig and Militello founded their firm in 2006. It has a staff of 12 to 15 architects at any given time at its singular Buenos Aires office, depending on the workload, they said. The firm has designed commercial and residential projects in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.
Its hospitality and tech work includes spaces for Goodstën Creamery ice cream shop in Buenos Aires; Fogon restaurant in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; IguanaFix software provider in Buenos Aires; Fintech company Uala in Buenos Aires; and Mexico’s first unicorn, or privately held startup, Kavak, in Buenos Aires, according to a news release. The architects also were the founding partners and designers of Buenos Aires’ first coworking space company AreaTres.
“We know Miami is a big hotspot in everything related to this pool” of hospitality and tech, Hitzig said. “That’s where we want to be. We believe it’s the right place at the right moment.”