Brickell an international banking center? Activity just south of downtown Miami is starting to suggest the answer is, yes.
The streets of this urban neighborhood aren’t paved in gold and they don’t measure up to New York’s Wall Street or even those in Charlotte. But it could only be a matter of time. An unofficial count puts the number of banks in Brickell at more than 50, and employment in finance, insurance and real estate represents nearly 20 percent of total jobs within the zip codes of 33129, 33130 and 33131. Brickell is also pulsating with bars, restaurants and cool cafes, while literally rising in prominence with new skyscrapers. Two years ago, Brickell reportedly had more than two-dozen tall buildings in planning or development. Among the newest coming to life these days is Brickell City Centre, a $1.05 billion mixed-use development under construction. More than 5 million square feet of office, residential, hotel, retail and entertainment space are planned.
With all due respect to nearby picturesque Biscayne Bay, there are real economic factors that point to Brickell’s emergence, including no city or statewide income tax; growth-oriented land use policies; strong economic freedom fostering wealth accumulation; and the area’s ethnic diversity, roughly 70 percent Latino. Increasingly, Brickell (and Miami) is viewed as a safe haven among them. Brickell also houses a large share of the state’s foreign consulates — from Great Britain, France and Switzerland to Argentina, Brazil and Chile.
The result: Brickell is not just on the South Florida map; it’s gone global.
Photo credit: Swire Properties Inc.