Miami Design District
Achieves Prestigious
LEED ND Gold Certification

Miami Design District, the 16-acre mixed-use development centrally located in Miami and
at the cultural vanguard of the global creative industry, has earned prestigious LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED ND): Built v4 Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. 

The project is the first in the world to achieve Gold and third in the world to be certified in this version 4 of the LEED ND: Built rating system.

Spinnaker Group provided LEED for Neighborhood Development consulting and energy modeling for this distinctive project. Located north of downtown and less than
10 minutes away from South Beach in a pedestrian-friendly environment, the neighborhood previously became the first LEED ND: Plan v3 Gold certified project in Miami-Dade County when the project's first stage was certified in 2012. 

The 16-acre redevelopment area features many distinct and artistic façades in addition to a highly
energy-efficient infrastructure. The commercial part of what was historically known as the Buena Vista neighborhood that was a designated brownfield area and suffered from urban decay has been reconverted into retail spaces, art galleries, restaurants and cafés, transforming it into a world-class destination and luxury fashion experience.

The Master Plan was created by team at DPZ, which proposed the retrofit of four city blocks, approximately one million square feet of retail spaces, that are connected by a paseo for pedestrians and anchored by two civic plazas. An emphasis was placed on providing an abundance of shade trees and walkable destinations, while reducing parking from views with underground parking and above-ground structures covered with artistic facades. The flexibility of the master plan allowed for expansion of the district over time, while connecting with nearby neighborhoods to increase walkability.

Miami Design District, now dotted with enormous
mature trees native to South Florida, and public
art and water features woven into the design
elements, also benefits from excellent quality
transit, with access to public transportation and
best-in-class parking structures at the edge of
the area.

Amongst many sustainability aspects of the
redevelopment are:

  • Heat island effect and cooling load energy
    use were considerably reduced thanks to the
    expanse of vegetated and high-albedo white
    roofs, as well as tree-shaded streets, making
    structures not only charming and sustainable,
    but also contributing to restoring the natural hydrology by re-infiltrating rainwater.
  • Through its compact development scheme, high density, and supported transit investments to
    extend the local trolly service, the Miami Design District was able to conserve land to promote livability, walkability, community connectivity, and transportation efficiency, including reducing
    the amount of vehicle miles traveled.

  • Enhanced walkable streets and pedestrian walkways, with large and continuous sidewalks and
    access for people with disabilities, along with a variety of open spaces, encourage visitors and employees to spend time outdoors, which improves physical and mental health.

  • The Miami Design District went further by integrating innovations from other Green Building Standards, including the WELL's feature "Beauty and Mindful Design," which incorporates design elements and artwork to create a calming environment able to improve occupant mood and morale while aligning with core cultural values.

Spinnaker Group also provided LEED Consulting, Building Commissioning and Energy Modeling for three landmark buildings within the Miami Design District: 1) Garden Lounge Building, featuring an intensive rooftop garden lounge designed by Island Planning Corp. -- certified LEED Gold in 2013; 2) Palm Court, featuring underground parking to allow for a large open courtyard above for pedestrians and artwork, such as the Buckminster Fuller’s futuristic Fly’s Eye Dome -- certified LEED Gold in 2015; and most
recently 3) Paradise Plaza, featuring underground parking with a large plaza above for pedestrians and artwork, intensive green roofs -- certified LEED Gold in 2020.

                                                                                                 As the northerly anchor component of the Miami                                                                                                         Design District, Paradise Plaza, which also received                                                                                                     the Innovative Project of the Year / New                                                                                                                           Construction, Core & Shell Award for 2020 from U.S.                                                                                                     Green Building Council Florida, houses shops and                                                                                                          restaurants and is filled with the art and                                                                                                                          architecture of many internationally renowned                                                                                                            artists and designers. It is connected to the hugely                                                                                                        successful Palm Court via a mid-block pedestrian                                                                                                          passageway known as the Paseo Ponti.

                                                                                                 Similar to the way LEED for Building Design &                                                                                                              Construction (BD+C) was created as a tool for                                                                                                                 market transformation of individual buildings, the                                                                                                       U.S. Green Building Council partnered with the                                                                                                              Congress for New Urbanism and the Natural                                                                                                                  Resources Defense Council to create a LEED rating                                                                                                       system focused on sustainability at the neighborhood scale: LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED ND). LEED ND is a tool that assists planners in bringing forward an alternative, sustainable form of growth. It strives to create compact, walkable, vibrant, mixed-use neighborhoods with good connections to nearby communities.

“The Miami Design District is a truly unique community, open and inviting for every imaginable aspect
of life and setting the bar for neighborhood development for communities across the USA as a creative neighborhood and shopping destination dedicated to innovative fashion, dining, design, art, architecture and sustainability,” said David Holtzman, Sr. Vice President of Development for Dacra, a partner behind the Miami Design District. "These exciting USGBC achievements in the Miami Design District are representative of the neighborhood’s commitment to innovation, resilience and responsible use of resources."

"Adding this latest LEED ND certification to an already impressive track record of sustainability successes underscores the Miami Design District’s leadership in neighborhood development. The exceptional team of Dacra and L Catterton Real Estate fully bought into investing in smart growth in an urban fabric, creating a unique mixed-use development that will be healthy, resilient and sustainable for generations
to come," said Jonathan Burgess, President of Spinnaker Group. "Spinnaker Group started working with the talented team members, as well as with the City of Miami, back in 2011. It's been a labor of love for
us, and we're so proud of this still-evolving yet already exceptional neighborhood-development project. We're proud that it's in our backyard here in South Florida, and we're proud that Spinnaker Group's integrated team approach with the ownership, design, and construction teams significantly reduced the project's environmental footprint."

Founded in 2003, the award-winning
Spinnaker Group helps facilitate the
delivery of the highest quality,
sustainable building projects. Using
an integrated team approach with a
diverse range of clients, the firm has
more than 150 LEED Certified projects
under its belt and more than 700
million sf of commissioned building
space worldwide. In addition to
tapping USGBC's LEED and other
rating systems as anchors of its
sustainable consulting services,
Spinnaker's diverse team of design
and construction professionals offer
project management, energy modeling,
fundamental and enhanced building
commissioning, neighborhood planning,
operations and maintenance consulting,
indoor air quality testing, and life cycle
analyses for all types of building projects.


About Miami Design District:
The Miami Design District is a one-of-a-kind
neighborhood that combines luxury
shopping, galleries, museums, design
showrooms, restaurants and major art
and design installations all within an
architecturally significant context. The
Miami Design District is owned and
operated by Miami Design District
Associates, a partnership between Dacra,
founded and owned by visionary
entrepreneur Craig Robins, and
L Catterton Real Estate, a global real estate
development and investment fund,
established by Catterton, LVMH and Groupe Arnault specializing in creating luxury shopping destinations. As Miami becomes increasingly known for its own rich culture, the growth of the Miami Design District further reflects how the city is deserving of its place on the global stage.


This noteworthy achievement was also picked up in several media, including The Next Miami and PROFILE Miami.