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Downtown Miami gets influx of firms since fall 2020, boosting apartment rental prices

·2 min read
CARL JUSTE/cjuste@miamiherald.com

The downtown Miami office market continued to expand over the past year, despite the pandemic, increasing the number of people living close to work and boosting residential rents in the area.

Downtown added 17 new companies that opened offices between fall 2020 and June 2021. The wave of key business arrivals included Blackstone, Thoma Bravo and Microsoft.

They are expected to bring 1,835 jobs to the city in the next three years, the Miami Downtown Development Authority said Tuesday. In exchange, the firms are eligible to receive up to $150,000 each from the city over three years depending on the number of people they employ here.

The expansion of downtown business activity has predictably pushed up apartment rents. Tenants are paying significantly more compared to a year ago to live in downtown Miami, according to the development authority’s latest residential market update.

The average rent for all units stood at $2,180 a month during the second quarter of 2021, up from $1,973 a month in 2020 and $2,040 a month in 2019. Aside from the pandemic dip last year, listed rents have been steadily climbing since 2016 when the average was $1,926 a month.

The new update listed average rents for the entire downtown Miami community, which includes the Arts & Entertainment District, Central Business District, Brickell, Edgewater, Greater Downtown, Midtown, Overtown and Wynwood.

The city’s newcomers “all want to be in the vicinity of where they work,” said Christina Crespi, executive director of the downtown development authority.

Despite the population and business growth, downtown Miami has room for more companies and residents, Crespi said.

However, executives and their employees often complain about the lack of elementary and high schools. More options are planned, including the expansion of the Southside K-8 Center. Crespi is also talking with five private schools looking at potentially opening in Miami, she said.

Development authority leaders also continue to hear from companies about the need to help locals gain the skills they need to qualify for today’s finance and technology jobs. Crespi said the authority plans to announce Wednesday a $42 million partnership with Miami-Dade County to groom the local workforce to fill these positions.

Although residential rents are on the rise, at midyear Miami was cheaper on average compared to other downtown communities across South Florida. Downtown Fort Lauderdale had a higher average rental rate of $3,078 a month, while it was $2,485 a month in downtown West Palm Beach.

As of June 30, Brickell had the highest average rent for unfurnished apartments at $3,237 a month, followed by Wynwood ($3,200), the Arts & Entertainment District ($3,072), Midtown ($2,883), the Central Business District ($2,681), Greater Downtown ($2,473) and Overtown ($1,638).

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