Miami’s Emerging Wynwood Office Market
Stephen Rutchik, EVP with Colliers International, spoke to Commercial Property Executive about the growing demand for Class A office space in Wynwood, Miami’s dynamic Arts District.
By Timea Papp
Considered an industrial hub for decades, Miami’s Wynwood submarket has emerged as a vibrant arts district over the past years, bustling with trendy restaurants, shops and entertainment venues. As the area grew into a live-work-play environment, pent-up demand for office space has transformed into an opportunity for developers.
Colliers International EVP Stephen Rutchik talked to Commercial Property Executive about the new office developments coming to Wynwood, with a focus on R&B Realty’s Class A project dubbed The Gateway at Wynwood, as well as what tenants look for when choosing office space.
Why is Wynwood suddenly seeing demand for office space and where is it coming from?
Rutchik: We’ve been seeing residential development coming online in Wynwood alongside a stable base of housing already in place in nearby Midtown. Still, office demand has remained largely unmet, leaving corporate users with no choice but to occupy makeshift space. Four proposed office projects are now underway in the immediate neighborhood, with The Gateway at Wynwood representing the first purpose-built, Class A office space of scale offering users easy access and a ‘main and main’ location where Wynwood, Midtown Miami and the Miami Design District all come together.
Can you tell us about the demographic looking to bypass the traditional well-established office market for an emerging neighborhood like Wynwood?
Rutchik: Research tells us young professionals prefer working in urban areas that are walkable, home to trendy restaurants, bars and close to accessible housing options. Employers are finding that luring talent means embracing this shift and developers are meeting demand by building offices in emerging neighborhoods.
Why is the developer taking a leap of faith and building on spec?
Rutchik: R&B Realty’s principals have had a home in Miami for more than a decade. They know this market and they plan to replicate the success they’ve enjoyed in the northeast here in Miami. R&B Realty acquired the development site two years ago when they identified pent-up demand for commercial office space in the neighborhood and preliminary conversations with potential tenants have been extremely positive.
How does The Gateway at Wynwood’s proximity to Miami’s Midtown and Design District neighborhoods fit into your leasing and marketing strategy?
Rutchik: Any one of these districts on its own—Wynwood, Midtown or the Design District—would not be large enough to drive Class A office demand. But the three neighborhoods combined have built a critical mass of commercial and residential uses, with Class A office space being the missing ingredient making tenants look beyond the urban core.
When tenants step outside The Gateway at Wynwood and walk in any direction, they’ll be surrounded by something unique and lively, so our walkable setting lies at the core of our leasing and marketing program.
What sets apart The Gateway at Wynwood from the competition in the market?
Rutchik: The project doesn’t have any direct competition in the immediate submarket. This is the only purpose-built office building of scale under development in Wynwood that offers the large floor plates, high parking ratios and amenities that major users desire—from multinational corporations to professional services firms. Also, the building offers direct access to Interstates 95 and 195, Biscayne Boulevard and is just minutes from Miami International Airport, Miami Beach and Downtown Miami.
How have new office trends shaped the building’s design and what’s the status of the project?
Today’s tenants value workplace flexibility, on-site and nearby amenities and an abundance of natural light. As a result, the building’s ownership and design team created a building that offers tenants large, customizable floor plates which can accommodate any size user. Floor-to-ceiling windows will offer a significant amount of natural light. They’ve also incorporated outdoor spaces on the building’s sixth floor and on the rooftop, so tenants can entertain on-site, with street-level retail that serves as an amenity for its users and the surrounding neighborhood.
Of course, any commercial project in Wynwood needs to reflect the neighborhood’s artistic character, so we’re planning to enlist artists to help design the building’s facade. Preleasing is now underway, financing is in place and R&B Realty is moving forward with the project’s development. Initial site work began in January 2018, construction will go vertical in mid-2018 and the building’s completion is expected in late 2019.
Images courtesy of Colliers International and R&B Realty