A dynamic urban core of diversity and excitement, Miami Worldcenter (MWC) spans several blocks just north of downtown. Located next to AmericanAirlines Arena, the project encompasses more than 10 acres, with modern residential and hospitality spaces and copious street-level retail. MWC includes within the LEED boundary six new buildings, two of which are high-rise residential towers. This world-class destination project also connects directly to the downtown MIA-Mover light-rail line and is a short distance from the Brightline higher-speed rail system at the MiamiCentral station.
The Spinnaker team worked with the developer to enhance the neighborhood's walkability, connectivity and street-life experience, as well as to boost energy/water performance and air quality in retail and residential spaces. Overall walkability and connectivity for the project was strengthened with the creation of two main retail promenades, combining nicely with tree-shaded streets surrounding the area and an increased transparency of first-level retail spaces.
As a LEED for Neighborhood Development project, community engagement was set as an essential component of the project from the earliest vision/strategy sessions. In short, the development would have a keen focus on bringing together people who live, work and play in the same environment, balancing with the goal to be a world-class visitor attraction. As such, LEED/sustainability criteria and cost analyses, based on the LEED ND scorecard, were examined in pre-design phase, allowing early involvement of the different design teams to discuss every aspect of a sustainable neighborhood and its implications on the community. The result? A huge and hugely successful project that improves livability and public health by encouraging daily physical activity associated with appealing pedestrian right-of-way, the availability of public transportation at walking distance, compact and mixed-use development, reduced automobile dependence, and accessible neighborhoods for all.
LEED / Sustainability Achievements include:
- Long before the actual project began, the project team worked with the Miami Dade Transit Authority (back in 2015) to renovate the Freedom Tower Station, providing covered shelter with seating and illumination; bike racks; and a transit-route-and-schedules display at the center of that platform. Measures to reduce contamination and increase air quality were implemented during the construction of the station. Landscape (including low-water consumption plants and no turf) was integrated on the site. Additionally, by creating two new public plazas within the project and pedestrian promenades, MWC promoted civic spaces and integration.
- Significant energy savings. From the project's beginnings, the integrated team was committed to go far beyond the LEED requirement for Neighborhood Development, with a goal to save more than 45% of energy based on average building energy consumption. LEED requires buildings' energy savings of at least 5% (prerequisite), the maximum threshold being 20% and exemplary performance being above 27% for neighborhood development. This noteworthy achievement was due to a careful selection of glazing, lighting, equipment and materials, as well as installation of cool roofs on almost all the buildings (including some green roofs) within the project boundary.
- Infrastructure energy savings. All streetlights, as well as traffic lights and pedestrian signals, are low-consumption LED, allowing 40% energy consumption reduction from typical street infrastructure. This strategy also went well beyond LEED requirements of 15% energy reduction for street infrastructure.
- Landscape irrigation systems were carefully selected, targeting a savings of more than 40% of water associated with street landscape irrigation and private landscape as part of the buildings within the project.
- Nothing is more efficient for public health and social integration than providing a great environment to walk the city. Enhanced walkability strategies were selected embracing two criteria: the sense of safety and comfort.
~ All ground-level retail, service and trade businesses that face a public space have clear glass
on 72% of their facades between 3-8 feet above grade, allowing people to feel the connection
with the inside spaces of the buildings. These windows are lit to keep them visible at night
for passersby. Likewise, no more than 40% of the facade is blank for facades that extend
along a sidewalk.
~ Comfortable sidewalks and plazas. Continuous sidewalks are available along both
sides of all streets within and bordering the project. Moreover, all sidewalks are at least
5 feet wide on retail and mixed-use blocks where the flow is more important, and more
than 8 feet wide around the residential building. Also, the project includes two pedestrian
promenades 40 feet wide that connect to plazas. At-grade crossings with driveways
account for no more than 7% of the length of sidewalks within the project, keeping car
invasion into pedestrian spaces at a minimum. All facades of mixed-use buildings contain
ground-floor retail or live-work spaces, and all of those spaces have direct and universal
access to a sidewalk.
~ Hazardous waste-collection strategies and recycling activities were implemented during
construction. Several measures were taken (and will be implemented for the remaining
buildings) to prevent polluting the air with dust and particulate matter.
Beyond the project buildings’ characteristics, resiliency and equity are key aspects promoting health and wellness within MWC, starting with its chosen location -- close to public transportation, availability of myriad services, and, since the project also has a residential component, proximity to educational infrastructure. With regard to the latter, a high school is within ½-mile walking distance from both of the residential buildings.
MWC promotes socially equitable and engaging communities by enabling residents from a wide range of economic levels, household sizes, and age groups to live within the single community because it includes a sufficient variety of housing sizes within the two high-rise residential towers.
Additionally, MWC encourages balanced communities with a diversity of uses and employment opportunities. The campus includes a residential component equaling 89% of the project's total building floor area. The project's geographic center is within a ½-mile walk of existing full-time-equivalent jobs whose number is 1.5 times the number of dwelling units in the project.
Furthermore, at least 20% of the dwelling units have been designed with consideration of universal accessibility features. For example, easy-to-grip lever door and single-lever faucet handles; large and high-contrast print for controls, signals and other unit features; clear-door opening width of 32 inches minimum for all doorways; tread at entrances, on stairs, and on other areas where slipping is common, with color contrast differences between stair treads and risers; interior floor surfaces that provide easy passage for a wheelchair or walker, again with color contrast between floor surfaces and trim.
Lastly, as an integral part of Miami Worldcenter, both residential buildings (the 43-story LUMA tower and the 58-story Paramount tower) are currently applying for green-building certifications, which will make them key contributors to this distinctive, ultra-sustainable neighborhood.