Downtown Miami is experiencing a significant transformation, thanks to a substantial investment of $1.1 billion by Miki Naftali, a seasoned real estate developer from New York. Naftali, who leads the Naftali Group, shared his insights with FOX News Digital in an exclusive conversation, highlighting the undeniable vibrancy and irreversible maturity of Miami’s real estate market, especially in the wake of the COVID pandemic.
Naftali emphasized the unique urban lifestyle offered by Downtown Miami and the Miami Worldcenter. This area combines the quintessential Floridian experience of sunny skies and stunning water views with the convenience of walkability and various transportation options. The Miami Worldcenter, in particular, stands out as the city’s first pedestrian-only neighborhood, offering an integrated mix of retail, dining, arts, and culture.
In the last year, Downtown Miami has seen significant development activities, with over $15 billion invested in nearly 20 projects, according to county data. These projects span residential, commercial, and hotel sectors, aiming to meet the growing demand in the area. One of the notable ventures by Naftali’s firm is the JEM Private Residences in the Miami Worldcenter.
Naftali, with 35 years of experience in the industry, primarily based in New York, noticed Miami’s transformation starting in the 1990s. The recent surge in population and business activities post-COVID has opened new opportunities for development. He appreciates Miami’s diversity, noting its evolution from a retirement destination to a vibrant city attracting people globally.
Peggy Olin, CEO of OneWorld Properties and a leading Miami broker, has been instrumental in selling nearly half of all pre-constructed or recently built condos in Downtown Miami. She collaborates closely with Naftali’s firm, catering to the burgeoning demand for entertainment, retail, transportation, and hospitality services in the area. Olin describes the last five years as transformative for Downtown Miami, which was once overshadowed by neighboring districts like Brickell and Wynwood.
Besides residential developments, the expansion of the Brightline high-speed train and proximity to cultural landmarks like the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and Pérez Art Museum enhance Downtown Miami’s appeal. Olin highlights the competitive pricing and growth potential of the Miami real estate market.
Naftali emphasizes their commitment to preserving Miami’s Latino and Hispanic heritage, addressing any gentrification concerns. He stresses the importance of listening to clients and delivering properties that reflect attention to detail and high quality.
Looking ahead, Naftali envisions Downtown Miami as an international hub comparable to major cities like London and Tokyo. His team is open to diverse development opportunities, including in hospitality and residential sectors, as they continue to shape Miami’s future.