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Royal Caribbean unveils new $300M office plan for PortMiami that will look like a ship

Taylor Dolven, Miami Herald on

Published in Business News

The view from downtown Miami is about to look a whole lot different.

On Monday the Miami-Dade Tourism and Ports Committee approved a deal that would allow Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to build a new office and parking garage on the land at the southwest corner of Dodge Island next to where its older offices sit now. The new campus would expand the company's workforce capacity from 2,200 to 4,200.

The full board of commissioners will vote on the proposal in May.

The expansion plan is about both space -- around 550 employees are currently working in temporary spaces like WeWorks -- and attracting more digitally oriented talent. The company currently employs 4,000 based throughout South Florida and 75,000 globally.

"We used to interview people, now they interview us," said Royal Caribbean's Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty. "We need to be able to attract the best talent in the world."

For folks who are used to working at state-of-the-art start-ups, Royal Caribbean's two six-story offices seem underwhelming, say Royal Caribbean executives. The high cubicle walls fill up nearly every square inch of floor space, and the enclosed window-facing offices block out natural light. The employees' cars have the best views of the downtown Miami skyline.

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The designs for the new buildings by New York architecture firm HOK give employees the view.

The 10-story, 350,000-square-foot office building, planned for the company's current parking lot, would incorporate floor-to-ceiling windows. Parking will be housed in a new garage.

Architect Kenneth Drucker of HOK said the building is designed to look like a ship. The firm's local projects include renovations to the Hard Rock stadium and the children's and federal courthouses in downtown Miami.

"The big inspiration to us was the way that the balconies step at the stern of the ship," he said. "We wanted it to be very fluid and iconic on the waterfront."

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