After a long search and many rumors, the Miami Herald has selected its new home in the heart of Doral. The Herald employees are in for some culture shock when they move into their new digs. Gone is the beautiful waterfront view and convenient access to mass transit. Gone is their aging 1963 building with all of the challenges of maintaining an old, waterfront property. Welcome to the ‘burbs.
Now the Herald will be out in the bustling, economic-driver of Doral. Instead of rubbing elbows with students, lawyers, bankers and business leaders they will be sharing lunch spots with freight forwarders, warehouse workers, Southcom officers and cruise line personnel. They will be suffering through the remaining years of construction on the 836/826 interchange. How will all of this affect their reporting?
When the Herald moves, like all companies, it will take advantage of the move to upgrade everything from furniture to technology. It’s easy to predict that they will be reducing their square footage ratio per employee by moving to a virtually open floor plan and probably increasing telecommuting/hoteling. It will be interesting to see how this will affect employee productivity – it should be a positive effect.
Another interesting aspect is that they are moving out of an old building that never conceived of today’s technology. Their new building is an impressive bunker. I have been to the old US Southern Command Building and I also know a bit about it from others who worked inside it. This building has some impressive features. It’s hurricane resistant to a Category 5, has amazing generator capacity and the building’s technology infrastructure is amazing due to the previous tenant. It’s not a pretty, sexy building, but with each floor at almost 60,000 sf, an in-house gym and cafeteria and a lot of land surrounding it, it’s not bad.
The Miami Herald had a great team of brokers representing them. They found some interesting options throughout the county and the one that was the top choice for the Herald was a build-to-suit project on the old Bertram Yacht site on the Miami River. This site is right next door to the new airport intermodal center and would have kept the Herald in striking distance of public transportation. It is in an Enterprise Zone so they would have gained some nice economic incentives. But there were obstacles of time and money that became insurmountable as negotiations moved along.
Having worked in the Doral area for over a decade myself and with numerous clients still in Doral, I think that now the Herald will learn how business is really done in Miami – it’s done in the Miami Airport area where we see every single plane and tractor trailer with dollar signs in our eyes. I think that the City of Doral should throw a welcoming party for their new resident. Perhaps have Commuter Services talk to them about van-pooling since few use mass transit out here, give them some take-out menus of nearby restaurants, show them the newly re-modeled Wal-mart, give them discount cards for Dolphin and International Malls and a couple of golf passes to the Doral Resort. After all, it’s the neighborly thing to do.