Jumping Off This Building Is Encouraged

Miami tower will include curious offerings for thrill seekers

Sep 2, 2014
Outside Magazine
skyrise miami florida tower architecture base jumping bungee jumping

SkyRise Miami will cost $340 million to build and will feature a nightclub, movie theater, and "BASE jumping" thrill ride.    SkyRise Miami

Florida is not known for high-rises, but the city of Miami wants to break that pattern in a big way by constructing the state's tallest building—and letting visitors jump off it. The bobby-pin-shaped SkyRise Miami will rise 1,000 feet above downtown and feature experiences inspired by BASE jumping and skydiving.

Miami voters came out in favor of the tower last Tuesday, approving construction of a building that will rise over the state's current tallest structure by more than 200 feet. SkyRise will feature a nightclub, a ballroom, a movie theater that has a "motion-based simulator" so guests can enjoy "the thrill of flight," and SkyPlunge, an amusement-park-style ride that mimics a bungee jump.

But the building's most curious feature is SkyRise Drop, which will allow visitors to free-fall from the building. The SkyRise website describes the experience as "just like parachuting out of an airplane … the thrill of a free-fall followed by the jolt of extremely rapid deceleration."

SkyRise skeptics note that the tower will be built on public land and that a casino could be added in the future. Architect Charles Corda wrote in the Biscayne Times that SkyRise's developer, Jeff Berkowitz, needs to be more transparent about the amount of money the project could generate. Corda points out that Berkowitz's estimate of 3.2 million visitors a year seems ambitious; for comparison, the Statue of Liberty sees only 4.2 million a year.

Berkowitz is investing $30 million of his own funds into the estimated $430 million project. "Miami is a world-class city. And I think an iconic structure downtown will firmly cement Miami on the global stage," Berkowitz told USA Today. "It's going to be Miami's Eiffel Tower."

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