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Brickell City Center showed Miami you can build for people, not cars

All week we’re going to be looking at people, companies, and organizations who dominated their sectors in 2016. Tomorrow we’ll be looking at neighborhoods. Other winners: Lyft and Uber (transit), Kairos (tech)

Brickell City Center might be the last piece of the puzzle to going truly car-less for Brickell residents who also work there.

With restaurants, bars, gyms, grocery stores, and coffee shops every couple blocks, large-scale retail and a movie theater were maybe the only regular needs missing from the neighborhood.

And going car-less might be a good thing, because as Brickell’s population soars, the traffic is only going to get worse. People are only going to want a place where they can shop, eat, and catch a movie without getting in their car even more than they already do.

The Miami Herald, which dubbed Brickell City Centre a “city within a city,” reported a couple weeks ago that Brickell’s population has almost tripled since 2000.

Real estate developer Swire came in with the 9.1-acre, $1.5 billion-dollar Brickell City Centre – which includes condos, office space, a hotel, and a shopping center – at the right time. Swire purchased most of the property in 2008, in the depth of the recession and South Florida real estate crash. It was a big bet.

That’s why we’re calling it the biggest real estate win in Miami this year (even if the retail is only about 50 percent occupied right now).

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