Building a master-planned community is about creating a community for residents.

Building a master-planned community is about creating a community for residents.Building a master-planned community is not just building a mixed-use project; it is about creating a community, a true city within a city where residents can live, work and play. As the population increases across the United States and developable land prices rise and become scarce, mixed use projects are the way of the future, and we will be seeing many more in years to come because of their immense benefits. Not only are they optimal from a highest and best use standpoint, but also for the community as a whole.

Take, for instance, one of my current projects, CityPlace Doral. This is an $800 million, 55-acre, mixed use project that will include more than 1,200 luxury condos, apartments and single-family homes with 350,000 square feet of retail space. I had assembled these parcels and, when deciding what to build, I knew I needed to create something for the citizens of Doral, Florida, to enjoy.

Incorporated in 2003, Doral is a fresh, new city that is growing exponentially in north-central Miami-Dade County. In fact, in 2014 Doral was named one of the fastest-growing cities in the country with a population increase of 7 percent from 2013 to 2014. With this fast-growing population and the rise of residential projects, the infrastructure and amenities need to keep up. So in weighing all my options thoroughly, it became clear that a master-planned community with residential, retail and office space was necessary to serve the needs of the burgeoning city.

Adjacent to CityPlace Doral is my residential project, Oasis Park Square. This comprises 150 ultra-modern, million-dollar-plus, twostory single-family homes which almost are sold out. With residents set to move in shortly, they need amenities nearby that the city simply did not have. Now, we have exciting, national-brand dining and entertainment options coming to CityPlace, and Premium grocer, Fresh Market, has signed on as an anchor tenant.

One of the most important components of making this vision come to life was having the city understand and support the concept. We were lucky that the city government was eager to bring these amenities to Doral, and they understood what we were trying to achieve. The project has, and will continue to be, a boost to the local economy and will create employment and affordable housing options for many years to come.

In building a master-planned community, it is pertinent to ensure that the location is optimal and the design flows in such a way to allow for the preeminent use of space. At CityPlace Doral, we have kept the outdoor nature of the South Florida lifestyle in mind and utilized the space to accommodate this in our design with a main street, open air shopping, outdoor cafes and upscale dining.

Master-planned communities are not just the development trend of the future; the time for them is here and now.

MASOUD SHOJAEE, Shoma Group president and board chairman, has built a reputation as one of South Florida’s most trusted developers. Established in 1988, Shoma Group is an award-winning real estate development company specializing in residential and commercial projects. Shoma has developed more than 10,000 homes and condominiums and more than 1 million square feet of retail and office space. For more information visit www.shomagroup.com.

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