Nine New Towers To Form Tech-Focused Miami Innovation District In Park West

Michael Simkins is planning a nine-tower project in Park West that could help spark Miami’s nascent tech industry, according to the Herald.

Simkins aims to establish a technology park called the Miami Innovation District, and has had discussions with ‘top 10′ tech companies to help create it. The plan includes cutting edge architecture, with SHoP Architects of New York overseeing design.

The district would be built on about ten acres that Simkins has bought just north of the Worldcenter project and the NAP of the Americas. He has submitted a Special Area Plan for the project, which meets the nine-acre minimum required for special designation under Miami 21.

About half the space in the district would be devoted to office space, with 40% devoted to residential use and 10% to retail. The residential space would include smaller apartments geared towards millenials.

If approved, the district would also include the 633-foot Miami Innovation Tower at 1031 NW First Ave., designed to display media and advertising information. It would cost $200 million, and include an observation deck, restaurants, and an indoor garden.

Miami commissioners deferred a vote yesterday on a covenant between the developer and the CRA to permit construction of the tower. Commissioners and lawyers for the developer decided that it might be possible for the tower to be approved without a vote, leading to the deferral.

(photo:david smiley)



  1. suomynona

    April 28, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Much needed. And even more reason for Beckham to build his stadium just west of this project in those mostly empty Overtown lots.

    • Marc305

      April 28, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      From your lips to Beckham’s ears!

    • Obviously

      April 28, 2015 at 8:59 pm

      Yeah sure, a soccer stadium would be such an economic Bonanza for the residents of Overtown.

      Shessh…where do you people come from……..

  2. No Billboards

    April 28, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    LED billboards are crass and obnoxious.

    • marc

      April 28, 2015 at 3:42 pm


    • XVS

      April 28, 2015 at 5:06 pm

      Or they are exciting and beautiful. It all depends.

      • Flymia`

        April 29, 2015 at 10:45 am

        Love the lights and boards in Tokyo, Hong Kong and NYC.

    • suomynona

      April 28, 2015 at 5:26 pm

      So are your complaints about them.

    • Obviously

      April 28, 2015 at 8:44 pm

      I don’t think that that would be your opinion if you invented something that bought you world wide fame and LED billboards splashed your name in every continent on earth.

  3. Miami Watch Dog

    April 28, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Wow, this is an incredible investment towards our urban core! If this LED billboard/multi-functional tower is the price to pay for an innovation district, then we should worry instead about all those other (much uglier) billboards around the city that serve no other purpose.. In fact there is already an LED billboard towering over this interchange at Jackson Soul Food, however, I don’t see an innovation district underneath it.
    I don’t know why there is so much fuss, the most important world cities have LED media districts (NYC, London, Tokyo, etc). In my opinion, I consider this an iconic piece of architecture first, and billboard second. Hopefully the programming is tasteful. We should gladly accept this proposal with open arms, Miami needs more of this kind of vision.

  4. MrDreTheOne

    April 28, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    This would be wonderful for Miami! If successful, this would bring a lot of high paying jobs to the urban core and consequently attract top talent to our city; further diversifying Miami’s professional market, and at the same time, it would populate an area that is completely dead and abandoned at this point. This is one of the very few projects that would actually bring something of value to Miami locals, not just more retail, hotels, or high priced condos. Yet, you will always have those who complain…… oh the bright crass lights! They hurt meee eyes!

  5. Gregory

    April 28, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    This with all aboard Florida and Miami world center are the best things that could happen in the cities near future.

  6. miami wice

    April 29, 2015 at 8:45 am

    another fake world class project that disguises itself from being a land play. miami worldcenter, all aboard florida, and now the “miami innovation district” are all ploys by people who really aren’t developers to create value with a special area plan so they can chop up their property and sell it piecemeal.

    miami is a ponzi scheme and here we are in the midst of a bubble again. this time the bubble though is that miami has “arrived” as an international city. look around you. everybody is still dumb. what are we supposed to do about that?

    • Danny

      May 1, 2015 at 4:57 pm

      Finally, someone see’s it correctly.

  7. alex

    April 29, 2015 at 8:49 am

    there will never be 9 brand new shiny buildings in overtown. this innovation district is a guise to get this scam tower built so they can make a ton of money pumping out ads 24/7. this is a trap. if it isn’t, the developer should build all 9 of his towers that will bring office space and rental inventory to overtown. a billboard is NOT innovation. SEE: SILICON VALLEY

  8. Dave

    April 29, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Since when do tech start up companies occupy shiny expensive downtown office towers? They generally start up in their mother’s garages and move from there to cheap warehouse districts (see Alienware by Tamiami airport as a local example).

  9. Really???

    April 29, 2015 at 10:59 am

    It’s amazing how since people are so cynical they don’t take the time to read. The article clearly says a “Technology Park” and goes on to say they are talking with “top 10″ tech companies to help create it. Last time I checked top 10 tech companies aren’t start ups.

    Many cities have technology parks or corridors where they have a grouping of technology companies. The Denver Tech Center comes to mind and the beginning of the University of Miami’s Life Science and Technology park comes to mind as the more local example.

    If you went out to 5 big tech companies and asked them to move to Miami and they actually considered doing it then they we look and say, OK where do the 5 us go and lease office space in a area where we can all be together? In other cities they were simply able to go to suburban area where workers could live nearby and develop those suburban office parks. It very hard to do this in the hear of downtown as office space is to expensive. The problem here in Miami is that those suburban areas are a pain to get to and not where young professionals want to live.

    By going to an underserved and blighted part of downtown and with the help of the revenue from the billboard SImkins is trying to achieve this in a relatively urban location. I don’t know if he can get it done but this is the type of innovation that you want developers to be doing.

    It seems most people just hate everything for the ideal of the perfect. If he was proposing more of the same condos then people would complain. So he tries to figure out how to do something innovative and of course people complain about that as well.

    • Obviously

      April 29, 2015 at 7:46 pm

      There are a lot of people in Miami who learned a long time ago that actual knowledge is a painstakingly time consuming process to accumulate and the short cut to that is using the art of criticism a lot as a means to appear smart.

    • DR.VEGAS

      May 2, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      ^^^^^ *receives a thousand upvotes*

  10. Fredric

    April 29, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Now that’s more like it! This is what Miami needs now as opposed to yet
    more $1 million to $10 million condos.

    If Miami is going to be the world-class city that some say it is already and
    many more say it will be in the not too distant future, then this development
    proposal represents the kind of thing you will see much more of in Miami,
    including the high-tech, LED advertising façade.

  11. Richard

    April 29, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    What we need, is more cowbells!

  12. Anonymous

    April 29, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Miami is known to be a party city and I dont like that because it is much than that. It has been and becoming more of a place for fine arts and fashion and hopefully the world will see that. People understand this Miami is not the Miami of the 70’s & 80’s. We want people to visit, live and build in Miami for what it is becoming more of that world class city we talk about. Think about it this is the city of the future we are growing just as fast as just about any other city in America. In 10 years Miami will be a different place rather you want it to be or not and how we get there is by building attracting more businesses,tourist an new residents. I visit this site everyday and everyday people are against every single proposal rather it be good or bad. Im sorry to all you people who been here all your life and dont want it to change but it will no matter what. So either you deal with it or move out because the new Miami is already here.

  13. Chalie Irons

    April 30, 2015 at 7:56 am

    The developer is creating a much needed Innovation District in a City rip for this type of growth. The question should be, does Miami want to be a city that thrives off of tourism and recreation, or does it want to take on the mantle of being a gateway city. An Innovation District adds jobs and growth as that is embraced in locations out of Silicon Valley like Boston, St Louis, Philadelphia and others. As to digital media, there are great examples of successful locations outside of Times Square and Tokyo such as Dundas Square in Toronto, Victory Park in Dallas. Does Miami want to grow or just remain a condo development real estate commodity market for those who can afford it. It is time for jobs and real growth to be encouraged and time for Park West and Overtown to naturally transform and become part of the conversation for responsible and sustainable growth.

  14. Apollo

    May 3, 2015 at 7:49 am

    It saddens me to come to these sites and read all the cynical posts.. I am not from here but after 4 years of living here I can see exactly where Miami is headed and where it needs to go. Projects like this (wether you believe in it or not) is what helps take cities to that next level. Even maybe help it find a new more stable identity. Many cities would give anything to have what Miami already has to offer. Now with proposals like this it will start to attract an even wider range of people. It might seem like another miami “ponzi scheme” but I don’t really see anyone else trying to get Miami where it needs be. So even if it doesn’t get built, its nice to see someone thinking about a different future for the this beautiful city. Because it really deserves one..

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