Vice: PMG To Build Cool New Rental On Empire World Towers Site (Updated)

A new downtown Miami rental tower will have a cool name, and architecture to match.

PMG has revealed plans to build the luxury apartment building, called Vice, on the former Empire World Towers property. Young professionals will be the target market.

The developer plans 464 small but expensive units, with the apparent goal of achieving a rental rate of $3 per square foot. Studios that are 530 square feet would rent for $1,650 per month, while one-bedrooms would be 600 square feet and rent for $1,800 per month. New York-style Junior 4s, as well as two and three bedroom residences will also be offered.

PMG’s Ryan Shear told the Herald, “If somebody’s okay living in that space in New York, why would they not want to live in that space in Miami?”

Vice is one of three high-rise buildings in the works for the block, and the only one not directly on Biscayne Boulevard. Plans for a 1,049-foot tower at 300 Biscayne Blvd. that will likely be a luxury condo project were submitted by PMG earlier this year. Another developer submitted plans for a 77-story, 960-foot tower called the World Trade Center of the Americas at 340 Biscayne Boulevard, currently a Holiday Inn.

Construction on Vice will begin by the end of the year. CFE Architects is the architect.

A separate, luxury condo tower is planned for the Empire World Towers site on the portion fronting Biscayne Boulevard. PMG will release those plans in the first quarter of 2016.


Update: PMG Principal Ryan Shear shared his thoughts on Vice with TNM:

“The concept behind Vice is three-fold.

First, Miami has a distinct lack of true Class-A multifamily options. By that, I mean look at cities like San Francisco, Manhattan, Boston, Portland, etc., and you will find cutting-edge rental properties – communities, really — that are directly tailored to young professionals. These high-end, high-tech properties provide a much better product, from better finishes in the units to weekend trips to local attractions. There is a dramatic difference between renting at a property like that, where it is managed by a major professional management company and offers unique, useful, and desirable amenities & services versus renting a condo directly from a landlord who lives out of the country, isn’t responsive, and isn’t constantly thinking of ways to improve your living experience. The market has just become so accustomed to the latter in Miami that most renters don’t even realize what they are missing. In Downtown and Brickell, the only true multifamily properties are tired and dated and don’t fulfill the need that we recognize.

All that being said, our second angle is pricing. Some will comment that our prices are high because on a per square foot basis, they are above $3. However, the typical young professional renter in Miami does not view the process that way; they have a budget of what they can and cannot afford to pay every month. We did some focus groups through ULI with members of the target demographic and we really learned a lot (it also helps that half of our office comes from that demographic). They know they want to live in Downtown/Brickell, they know they want to be in the scene at a trendy building, but the average monthly rent for a 1-bedroom in a high-end building is at least $2,000 a month. And then when you factor in all the different fees and restrictions from the condo buildings and owners (e.g., the small fortune you have to pay up front, are pets allowed?, etc.), it just becomes so difficult for most self-sufficient millennials to make it work. Our bet is that if you can shave several hundred dollars off of their monthly rent and give them a much cooler building with better finishes, amenities, and services, the smaller unit sizes won’t be an issue. Particularly once our floorplans are revealed, it will be clear that this makes sense. It’s worked extremely well in other major cities and we are betting that it will here as well.

Finally, the third part of this equation is the location: Downtown. We own and are developing properties all over South Florida, from Hollywood Beach to Aventura, Sunny Isles Beach, and Brickell. We love all of these areas and each brings its own set of positive characteristics; but, Downtown is the one brewing with the most potential. It is the epicenter and it’s really on its way to living up to its name. With all that is happening from Miami World Center to the All Aboard project to the Flager re-development to the new museums, Skyrise, etc., there is just so much on the way. You look at what’s happened in Wynwood, Design District, Midtown, Brickell, etc. and you have to recognize that it makes most sense here. Businesses are already here and now the rest of the pieces are coming. We like to refer to our site as the hole in the donut.

Once you see the tower we are proposing for the Biscayne-fronting acre of our site, and you combine it with Vice and hopefully the World Trade Center at some point, and this will be an unbeatable location.”