BY DESERAE DEL CAMPO
The population of downtown Miami will grow 70% by 2015, according to research by Florida International University's Metropolitan Center.
The center projects that 23,704 people will live downtown, said research associate Dario Gonzalez, who added that the center currently is working on a survey of downtown residents.
City records say 13,932 currently live downtown.
"We calculated our estimation from Miami-Dade County numbers that say there are 2.35 persons per household and simply applied that to the amount of units being developed in downtown," he said.
Mr. Gonzalez said the center will "verify the amount of people living in downtown with a telephone survey that should be completed by the end of next month."
A survey will include residents in the center's geographical definition of downtown, including areas north of the Miami River from the Central Business District, Park West and the Media and Entertainment District north of Interstate 395.
"There is a problem when it comes to population numbers because there are two elements – population estimates and population projections," said Mr. Gonzalez. "We need to find how many people live in down
town right now to find a condo occupancy census, and we don't have that yet.
"We will conduct the survey, along with contacting condo mangers to find out how many of the condos are sold so we can get a better number of the occupancy in downtown," he said.
Mr. Gonzalez said it wouldn't be valid to ask residents of unincorporated Miami-Dade County whether they might move downtown because "what ifthey change their minds and end up in Baltimore or someplace else? We need to contact a percentage of resi dents living in downtown."
According to Miami city records, nearly 14,000 people now live downtown north of the Miami River. There are 6,379 households and 2,633 families with an average income of $38,702.
"The Miami Downtown Development Authority currently does not have a year-by-year population analysis," said Cristina Raecke, manager of marketing and community relations for the authority. She said the authority is working with the FIU center to "produce annual research that includes a demographic analysis."
The Metropolitan Center, Mr. Gonzalez said, will look at real estate numbers, property tax numbers and demographics.