“We keep moving forward – opening up new doors and doing new things.”
I saw the above quote on a recent trip with the grand kids to Disney World. It really hit me! I certainly can relate to Walt Disney’s words in a real and personal way. Innovation and pioneering have been part of the Allen Morris Company DNA from the start.
We did it when we built the very first regional shopping malls in South Florida (Northside Shopping Center (1960) and Dadeland Mall (1962). We did it again in 1968 when we built the first multi-tenant office building in the as yet undiscovered Brickell Area at 1000 Brickell. I can still hear my father’s friends teasing him about planting an office building on the wrong side of the Miami River. At the time, Brickell Avenue was mostly grand estate homes. But my father believed that because it was so close to downtown, Brickell Avenue would soon become an alternative business center for offices – which is exactly what happened!
See our 60-second video showing the rise of Brickell Avenue
We’ve continued that tradition of opening new doors and doing new things through our 60 years in existence – a milestone we celebrate this year. We built the first Class A Institutional Quality office building for IBM in Tallahassee in 1986 called Monroe Park Tower. We did it again with an A Plus Class Mediterranean Revival office building in Coral Gables in 2002 called Alhambra Towers- an award winning iconic structure that marks the City Beautiful’s burgeoning downtown district.
In 2018 we are innovating with unique live – work units for entrepreneurs and small business professionals in our mixed-use “metropolitan oasis” called Maitland City Centre just outside of Orlando opening in March.
Each of the above is an example of bringing a higher quality product or a new type of product that has never been in that location before. Although there is risk in doing something innovative and pioneering, there’s also great reward at the end of the day, and it makes what we do at The Allen Morris Company as fun for us as a ride at the Magic Kingdom.
In this special anniversary year, we are breaking ground on our 83rd project in West Midtown Atlanta, historically the industrial center of warehouses and manufacturing on the railroad terminal. We will bring the first Class A apartments and office spaces to the area in a $250M development called Star Metals Atlanta. It will also be the area’s first mixed-use apartments, retail and office development. While innovative, we are also intentionally preserving and celebrating the local history, naming the project after the metal reclamation yard that stood on the site for many years.
I can relate to Walt Disney’s restlessness and “Imagineering” as I visualize what could be and then see it become a reality. With the completion of each project, I become eager to announce the next one. The real estate development world can be quite a ride!
“I can never stand still. I must explore and experiment.”