Brickell- Miami’s “Manhattan of the South”

Local promoters like to call Brickell the Manhattan of the South. Not sure I agree with this nomenclative but it certainly is one of the most dense and urban districts in the south. Brickell is between the Miami River and 913 and I-95 and the bay. Brickell Key is also park of the Brickell district.

Brickell was settled in the modern era in the mid-19th century by early pioneers and became Miami’s “Millionaire’s Row” in the early 20th century with the construction of lavish mansions along Brickell Avenue. By the 1970s, office towers, hotels and apartments began replacing the historic mansions. Brickell overtook the City’s historic CBD to the north, as one of the largest financial districts in US. The southern half of Brickell (aka South Brickell) below 15th SE Street remains as low density mansions but with residential towers along the bay.

Brickell is Miami’s most dense district and best urban neighborhood. The northern half of the district offers a 5-10 minute walkable neighborhood with convenient access to many jobs. There is still very high economic diversity here, good array of well rated schools, high levels of safety, along with 4 full service supermarkets and a busy Downtown mall. The main reason I didn’t give Brickell a higher score is the lower density and lack of mixed-use in South Brickell and the fact that Brickell Key is a gated community. Brickell also has increasing affordability issues and could use more park and recreation space. But I do believe as developers build out the underdeveloped western edge of the district and South Brickell that the neighborhood will continue to improve from an urban perspective. And perhaps one day be worthy of the title “the Manhattan of the South”.

Click here to view my Downtown Album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Great urban density. Probably most dense neighborhood in Miami.
* Very good ADA infrastructure and sidewalks.
* The northern half of Brickell is within Dwtn so great access.
* Also some of the best public transit in Miami is here.
* Great bike infrastructure with several bike lanes and many bike stations.
* High economic diversity and decent racial and family diversity.
* Decent # of well rated schools and all are fairly walkable.
* Good cultural amenities with plenty of restaurants, bars, cafes, many art galleries, tons of night clubs, some music venues, a full cineplex,  a community theater, and a handful of museums. Also walkable access to all the cultural amenities just north in Dwtn.
* Great retail amenities with 4 supermarkets, plenty of drug stores, Brickell City Centre Mall which has a wide array of retail shops and restaurants, a Sakes 5th Department Store, plenty of boutiques, a bookstore, lots of bakeries and dessert shops, lots of gyms, a local box office, and plenty of banks and churches.
* This is a very safe district but all measures. As it is part of dwtn there is certainly some normal riff raff.
* The northern half is very vibrant with tons of pedestrian. The southern half is pretty sleep. Some with Mixed-Use areas.
* Modern in-fill is generally good urban form and decent architectural quality.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* No major hospital nearby but plenty of medical offices.
* Some nice historic mansions along Miami Street south of SW 15th but the rest of Brickell is very modern.
* Good but not amazing parks. Waterfront promenade is only present around Brickell Key. Other park space include Southside Park, Simpson Park, Brickell Park, and the Underline park beneath the elevate rail line.
* Some underutilized land along Brickell’s western edges. This should fill in soon though as the district gets built up.
* For sale Hsg is definitively expensive but lots moderately priced condos. Studios sell anywhere between 150K-500, 1-beds 250K-700K, 2-beds 250K to the low Millions, 3-beds  400K to 2 M, and most 4-bed product sells in the Millions.
* Rentals are very expensive. Studios lease in the 2 & 3Ks, 1-beds mostly 2Ks & 3ks but some rentals in the 4Ks & 5Ks. 2-beds 3-7K, 3-beds are 5K+.
* Brickell Key is a gated island with limited connectivity and exclusiveness.

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