There are some major changes coming to Downtown Miami. City officials broke ground Thursday on one of the largest development projects in South Florida history: Miami Worldcenter.
"Right here in Miami-Dade County, we're breaking ground on one the largest private master plan projects in the nation," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
The groundbreaking kicked off construction for the first phase of retail space in the massive, 27-acre Paramount Miami Worldcenter.
"We are building the second largest urban project in the country right in Downtown Miami. It just goes to show you what a city we have. I mean this area, we have a city of the future. Not just in the U.S. but really in the world," said Nitin Motwani, managing principal of the project.
The center, deemed a city within a city, has some grand visions. The 60-story skyscraper boasts over 500 residential units, an ambitious amenity deck, high-level retail space and even a soccer field.
But some critics say the project will push out residents from their next door neighbor, Overtown. Others argue the center will help create jobs.
"This development will enhance the wages of those who work on the project. And you'll see enhanced living wages and you'll see people from the Overtown community, from the Liberty City area, from our impoverished areas working in a place that is going to create new jobs for our community," said Commissioner Keon Hardemon, Miami District 5.
"Great thing about it, I think it's gonna add thousands of permanent jobs, good paying jobs to the residents, hopefully in this area. An area that has been blighted for about 50 years," Mayor Gimenez said.
Meanwhile, developers hope the $2 billion project will invigorate and transform the downtown area.
"You're gonna see a complete revitalization of this area and we're gonna see a 24-hour Downtown Miami," Mayor Gimenez explained.
The projected completion date for the first phase of the mega center is scheduled for 2018.