As Miami’s $4 billion urban development project breaks ground – and records – in the coming year, one of the primary builders gave an inside look into how the Miami Worldcenter will become Florida’s own Rockefeller Center.
"This is going to be really, what we believe, the epicenter of Miami. This will be kind of the Rockefeller Center," Royal Palm Companies CEO Dan Kodsi told Fox News Digital. "Having these open plazas and big sidewalks and big walkways and everything else is a very unique experience that you're going to have in Miami, and give you an urban lifestyle that really doesn't exist in the Southeast U.S."
Kodsi’s team is leading the construction of two residential buildings that are transforming the definition of work-life balance within Miami Worldcenter, which opens in 2024 as America’s second-largest urban development project after New York’s Hudson Yards.
Those buildings include the luxury high-rise Paramount, which features the most extensive amenity package of any Florida condominium; and Legacy Hotel and Residences, which is dubbed as one of the most high-tech medical and preventative wellness living spaces in the world.
"You're mixing luxury and lifestyle, which has not really been done in the hotel and hospitality side," Kodsi said. "And then we're building flexible ownership, so you could buy residences within Legacy where we created these micro-residences, so really for second homeowner-type people that live overseas or even within the U.S. who want a place in Miami."
Just a few penthouses remain available for purchase at the Paramount residence, according to the CEO. This building is home to an expansive fitness and wellness center, indoor basketball and racquetball courts, the first-ever high-rise soccer field, a golf simulator, music recording studio, a play space for kids, and a rooftop observation deck.
The mixed-used Legacy Hotel and Residences are completely sold out, including the more than 220,000 square feet of retail space below. A flagship Blue Zones medical complex, three-meal restaurant, and living green space promote a balanced lifestyle with a high-tech twist.
"There's going to be diagnostics so they can find out about their health, they can meet with life coaches, and from that point on, they can start to really change their life," Kodsi detailed. "We want Legacy to be an experience, and it could be a life-changing experience."
During the construction process, the CEO claimed decades-high inflation has been one of the biggest hurdles they’ve faced, as well as supply chain delays.
"Construction costs went up over 30%, and so this was very challenging because when you're in the middle of building projects or buying projects, suddenly you're envisioning one value and then the costs are significantly higher," Kodsi said.
"Insurance costs have gone up, of course, interest rates recently have gone up," he added. "So it's really pushed the costs of development. This isn't good for anyone. It's not good for the consumer."
But demand for Miami housing remains strong, as confirmed by a recent report from Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and ISG World, and Kodsi noted that people are buying into the "new urbanism" concept that’s changed Florida’s living dynamics over the last 30 years.
"When you come to the state of Florida and places like Miami, it's unique in that we still have strong migration. As a matter of fact, with high state taxes, you're seeing these mostly blue states where people are moving to more red states, conservative states like the state of Florida, where it's easier to do business," Kodsi pointed out.
"One of the things specific to Miami is that we don't have a lot of inventory. So we didn't overbuild," the CEO continued. "And so we're not sitting on developer inventory like we've seen in past recessions."
While Kodsi's Miami Worldcenter buildings finish their vertical construction, the Florida industry leader expressed it’s "exciting" to be on-site and watch the process.
"As a matter of fact, most of the work is done pre-construction by the time the building is actually under construction," the developer said. "We've pretty much done a lot or most of our work, other than finishing and opening it."