Downtown’s Omni gets new lease on life

The Omni International Mall was the place to shop in the 1980s and then the 90s came around and the Mall all but died. There have been several attempts to revive it since then, with plans ranging from condominiums to restaurants and from offices to even a telecom hub. All those plans failed but it seems like this latest one is gonna stick. The Related Group has taken control of the space at 1601 Biscayne Boulevard, buying it for a cool $100 million. According to the article in the Miami Herald they, along with Tate Capital acquired the debt and are the lenders.

Led by developer Jorge Perez, Related is responsible for a huge chunk of the projects around swanky Brickell and with this have now turned their attention to Downtown Miami’s revival. This latest is just another notch in that rebirth and at 1.5 million-square-feet is by far one of the largest in sheer size and magnitude.

The Center features office and retail space and currently houses a 525-room Hilton Hotel, the offices of long-time tenants Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, the Miami International University of Art & Design and the General Services Administration Passport Control and Diplomatic Security Services offices.

The rest of the Center is empty. Enter Perez, who has a reputation for turning his projects into gold, just look at Icon Brickell which has quickly become the mecca condo with a state-of-the-art spa, stellar restaurants and a celebrity-spotting hot spot. The location, hugging the Miami River and Biscayne Bay, couldn’t be better.

Sounds like Perez is the man to turn Omni Center into another great mixed-used retail/office complex. The area is ripe for such a place with condominiums surrounding the area, the Adrienne Arsht Center and DRB – Democratic Republic of Beers just blocks away and the American Airlines Arena not much further. Then, along northbound Biscayne Boulevard cool spots like Bin No. 18 and the newly-opened City Hall Restaurant.

The project is still quite hush-hush but as it develops there will be more to report. Might even be that if plans change, residential space could somehow make it onto the drawing board. Check this blog for further news on Omni Center developments.

Photos courtesy of Google Images / Vance Gulliksen

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