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Details On 3 Miami Sites Considered By Amazon For HQ2

When Amazon sought bids from cities that could support its second headquarters, the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County's economic development partnership, took the lead in preparing a presentation touting Miami.

The historically black Miami neighborhood of Overtown is being eyed for redevelopment.

It was submitted as part of a package promoting South Florida as a whole, including Broward and Palm Beach counties. It was not made public, but this week, the South Florida Business Journal confirmed three Miami sites that were specifically floated as possible locations for Amazon HQ2. And yes, the focus is on Overtown. 

The sites are:

  • Developer Michael Simkins' parcels in Overtown, which he calls the Miami Innovation District, reflecting his desire to attract tech businesses there. The Business Journal reports that LLCs owned by Simkins own about 10.4 acres, though they are not all contiguous. Simkins and his brother have reportedly spent $25M buying land. They are currently providing space for a coding academy and supporting a Black Tech Week conference in February. 
  • The Miami Worldcenter site directly south of Simkins' parcels, a 27-acre mixed-use project that extends to a Brightline train station. Much of this property is already being developed for specific uses, but about 7.5 to 10 acres could be available. Inspired by walkable destinations like Lincoln Road and the Third Street Promende in Santa Monica, the Worldcenter plans already include residential towers, 45K SF of retail and a Marriott Marquis convention center and hotel. 
  • RNG Overtown and Ring Equity, two companies managed by investor Mitchell Newman, control about five acres in Overtown.

Furthermore, the city of Miami and its Community Redevelopment Agency own about 30 acres in Overtown that could likely be in play. David Beckham also intends to build a soccer stadium on an Overtown site.

However, Overtown is a historically black community and residents have long feared that they would be displaced by gentrification. Neighbors upset about traffic problems have organized to fight Beckham's stadium plans. 

Although Miami was considered by many a long shot to win the Amazon economic development prize, The Next Miami argued that the city's bid is actually quite strong, because Florida's lack of state income tax, combined with incentives offered for locating in the CRA, equals more than $1B in benefits — more than other states have put on the table.

Also, whereas other major cities are largely built out, Miami's downtown is a comparatively blank slate. And if Amazon wants to expand its dominance to South America, there is no better American city to launch that from than Miami.