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The first piece of the biggest real estate project in Miami is ready By | Rene Rodriguez

The first piece of one of the largest real estate projects in the U.S. is ready and open for tenants.

Caoba, a 43-story apartment tower located at 698 NE First Ave., marks the initial phase of completion of Miami Worldcenter, the 27-acre mixed-use development that sprawls across 10 city blocks in downtown Miami.

The building houses 444 apartments ranging in size from 500 to 1,300 square feet. 60 percent of the units are studios and one-bedrooms. Rents range from $1,775 to $4,275. The rental office will open later this month and move-ins start January 31.

Miami Worldcenter managing principal Nitin Motwani, who has helped guide the $4 billion project since its inception 15 years ago, said the apartment building is being pitched at a wide range of potential tenants.

“It’s everything from corporate workers to fresh-out-of-college young people to families to empty nesters,” he said. “We’re not just targeting one demographic. We’re running the gamut.”

Caoba is located one block east of the MiamiCentral station, which services Brightline, Metrorail, Metromover and Tri-Rail. The proximity to mass transit is one of the main selling points of the apartments, which arrive during a surge of new multifamily construction in the downtown area.

According to the Dec. 2018 Market Insights report by the Miami Downtown Development Authority, there are 4,480 rental apartments currently under construction in the greater downtown area (which includes Edgewater, Overtown, Wynwood and Brickell). That’s nearly twice the number of the 2,317 condos currently in the pipeline, and many of those target the ultra-high-end luxury market.

The competitive multifamily market means developers are having to make concessions to lure tenants. Stephanie Mathieu, general manager of Bozzuto Management, the third-party company that will oversee leasing and operations at Caoba, said new tenants will receive one month’s free rent on a 12-month lease with only a $500 deposit required to move in. The building will also offer other amenities such as 24-hour concierge service.

“There’s a lot of Worldcenter construction in the vicinity, and of course some of that is going to be visible from inside the apartments,” she said. “But early adopters are understanding of that. We already have a wait list of 200 people who want to tour the building and see the units.”