30 and 40-Somethings Helping Fuel Brickell Boom

Young singles and couples, often with pets, are this area's demo

By Hank Tester
|  Monday, Oct 11, 2010  |  Updated 7:11 PM EDT
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Who's fueling the rapid population growth in the condo canyons of downtown Miami? Dairo Gonzalez can tell  you it's "someone between 30s and 40s, probably is single, or newly married, with a pet."

Numbers from the U.S. Census bureau put the population growth of the City of Miami at 26 percent. Many of those folks are moving into the once-empty condos in and around Brickell. What's fueling the growth are the younger folks taking advantage of bargain rents. 

"Rent is decent , actually after living in New York, rent is very decent," said June Psaltis while walking her dog, Phoebe.

Gonzalez's demographic description fits Freddy Vasconcelos to a tee.

"That's me!" said the young service worker from Brazil. Vasconcelos and his girlfriend share an apartment, love the skyline, and have adopted Lupe, a stubborn basset  hound. "It is cheaper and a better place to live. The rent is way cheaper than Miami Beach, South Beach, for example, Vasconcelos said.

Most of the growth crowd are professionals or heading that way. Many have ties their home country but find it economically more comfortable to be in the United States.

"They are all about business," said Gonzalez. 

Has the Brickell area reached the point where it has achieved what many local boosters touted: that it would become the New Manhattan? 

Jane Coady, who used to live in North Miami and is from Baltimore, now lives in Brickell and certainly describes a Manhatten lifestyle.

"You can walk anywhere, walk to the grocery, we walk to the pharmacy. I go to the gym up the street. It is perfect for young people."

Will the trendy young renters provide a big boost in getting empty downtown condos on line and into the revenue stream? Looks like that could happen on the backs of young renters -- with a little help from their dogs. 

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