If possible, it outdoes the Faena project in both intention and price. The billion-dollar development is a mix of hotel, shops, offices and apartments. Such a combination might be familiar in Hong Kong, where EAST’S owners, Swire Hotels, developed Pacific Place around The Upper House, but it’s new to Miami. There will be hanging gardens, parks and swimming pools. The top floors stare up and down Biscayne Bay with views only previously experienced by passing pods of pelicans.
Running through the centre of it all is a stunning ‘climate ribbon’, a vast, undulating trellis that lets the floors stay cool by harnessing the winds off the sea. Not only are the occasional tropical rains kept out, the water is saved for reuse. Tens of thousands of Miamians live in the surrounding area in Brickell and Downtown. Could this be it: the moment when Miami learns to walk instead of drive?
Throughout this frenzy of openings, you can sense the city’s desire to be taken seriously rather than just as next year’s hottest holiday destination. This time, the boom has reached further than hotels. A town that always had its own culture now has the buildings to host it and distinctive new neighbourhoods that simply didn’t exist before. There’s so much going on that observers are caught between rosy optimism and the feeling that this is almost too good to be true. Let the long-time watchers worry, for everyone else, Miami’s moment is now.