Innovation District and Tower vital for Miami

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May 20, 2015

The May 7 article Miami Innovation District developers bet on tech future, is on point in saying that I have “a bit of a problem.”

We have made significant investments and assembled a dream team to help Miami overcome significant obstacles and seize significant opportunities, but we are opposed by some folks who do not understand our project.

The Miami Innovation District and Miami Innovation Tower are vital for Miami to become a great global city of the 21st century.

Miami desperately needs high-paying jobs to attract and retain the talent that makes major cities great. We must stop our brain drain. Our project helps address this, creating 13,000 high-paying permanent jobs.

While seeds for Miami’s burgeoning technology sector have been planted by the likes of the Knight Foundation, working to nurture Miami’s startup movement, and by eMerge Americas, Miami needs a physical destination where small start-ups, middle-market and behemoth tech companies can collaborate in an innovative ecosystem.

Our project provides the people and density that technology companies seek in 24/7 live-work-play urban environments. Until we achieve this, our long- touted “tech hub of the Americas” remains a distant dream.

Before judging our project, people should visit the site at Northwest 10th Street and First Avenue and understand how it fits within the area’s ongoing evolution as the “24-hour district,” with access to mass transit, expressways, Miami Worldcenter, Marriott Marquis Expo Center, and surrounded by major high-rise complexes.

The concept of a media tower at that location is not new — it was discussed in countless public hearings years ago and adopted by the city and the CRA Board under Article Six in Miami 21. Our project fully complies with Miami 21 statutes. We are implementing the CRA’s plan for a media tower at that site as per the ordinance.

Every step of the way, we have followed the letter of the law. We selected world-renowned SHoP Architects after a global search for the best firm to design a kinetic sculpture to brand Miami worldwide. The tower’s lighting and signage are consistent with the many illuminated structures defining Miami’s skyline.

More than 1.2 million people will visit the iconic tower annually and enjoy its gardens, restaurants and other amenities.

Miami is an amazing city, with attractive benefits including tax savings, thriving cultural and arts institutions and great beaches and weather. We can turn Miami into Silicon Beach.

Let’s seize this opportunity so Miami can take its place as a global center of innovation.

MICHAEL SIMKINS, PRESIDENT AND CEO, INNOVATE DEVELOPMENT GROUP, MIAMI BEACH