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Next Up from Swire

Developer shows no signs of slowing as Stephen Owens steps down

By Kevin Gale

Stephen Owens
Stephen Owens

Brickell City Centre developer Swire Properties has land for a major project in Fort Lauderdale across the street from the Brightline high-speed rail station.

Stephen Owens, president of Swire’s U.S. real estate subsidiary, mentioned the project during a May 24 panel discussion at Mandarin Oriental, Miami on Brickell Key, an island that Swire developed. The discussion was sponsored by Baker Tilly, a global accounting alliance.

Owens also talked about how bullish he was on Miami. “Miami is the most exciting place I know of at the moment,” said Owens, whose retirement next January was announced the day after the seminar. “My only regret is I wish I was 20 years younger.”

In response to a question, Swire said the Fort Lauderdale property is on the south side of Broward Boulevard just west of the downtown area in the Arts & Entertainment District. Part of it backs up on Himmarshee, which has a row of bars and restaurants.

Owens’ description matches parking lots near the Revolution Live music venue and the Museum of Discovery and Science.

A restaurant area at Brickell City Centre
A restaurant area at Brickell City Centre

The Brightline station is being built on the north side of Broward Boulevard and will offer roughly 30-minute trips to downtown Miami and downtown West Palm Beach.

Don’t expect Swire to rush to do a project, though, because the firm tends to take a long-term view toward development opportunities. The company bought the land on Brickell Key in 1979 and still has one parcel left to develop. It bought the Brickell City Centre site after the real estate bust in Miami and construction of the $1.05 billion project has been underway for four years.

Swire has a temporary occupancy certificate on three out of seven buildings and expects to open the rest at the rate of one building every other month, Owens said.

The company recently released renderings for the 500,000 square feet of retail space at City Centre and a ribbon-cutting was held for City Centre’s EAST hotel on May 23. The Akerman law firm previously moved into City Centre’s first office tower.

Conception for a book store
Conception for a book store

The second phase will be nearly as big as the first, with a $1.5 billion development. Owens expects a much taller building with mixed-use space plus two other residential towers. The Federal Aviation Administration has approved an 80-story tower.

Swire, which has 136,000 employees on five continents, has invested
$2.5 billion in Miami and it’s paid off very well, Owens said. “We have plans to increase that substantially going forward.

“There is no other city in North America that has a chapter to be played like Miami,” said Owens, adding that you can’t mention Miami without talking about the future of Cuba these days.

The integrated Metromover stop
The integrated Metromover stop

Owens, who has spent 40 years with Swire, will continue to serve on the board of the company, where he will provide counsel on its U.S. development and investment operations. He will be succeeded by Kieran Bowers, who joined Swire in 1998.

Bowers is currently general manager of Cityplaza in Hong Kong, a 3.27 million-square-foot mixed-use development featuring Hong Kong Island’s biggest shopping mall, three office towers and a lifestyle business hotel, and is linked by metro and road transport. Bowers has served in senior roles in both mainland China and Hong Kong. He worked for Cathay Pacific, Swire’s aviation arm, prior to joining Swire Properties.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.