Read the PDF version »
In anticipation of air taxis from Uber and others, the builder of a 60-story condo tower is laying the groundwork for a ‘skyport’ on the roof.
By Candace Taylor, The Wall Street Journal
Developer Dan Kodsi sees flying cars on the horizon. The CEO of Royal Palms Companies says he expects air taxis to fill the sky in the next 10 to 15 years—and he’s preparing for their arrival on the roof of the Paramount Miami Worldcenter.
About a dozen companies are developing vertical takeoff and landing, or VTOL, vehicles. These electric aircraft, born aloft by multiple propellers, are expected to travel at speeds up to 230 miles an hour, drastically reducing commute times and gridlock. Last year, Uber Technologies Inc. announced plans to launch a VTOL ride-sharing network in Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth by 2023.
The skyport at the Paramount will repurpose two amenities, Kodsi says. A rooftop swimming pool was designed to accommodate a hydraulic lift that operates what’s known as a movable floor or a hidden pool; the bottom of the pool will rise through the water in a matter of minutes to create a 3,000-square-foot landing surface. A 1,400-square-foot sky lobby, where residents will wait for their air taxis with the assistance of a doorman, will initially be used as an observatory. “You want to be part of the group in the real-estate industry that’s reacting now, not ‘Oh, I wish we had thought of that trend,’ ” Kodsi says.
*VTOLs will have pilots at first, but over time they’re expected to become autonomous.
*According to a recent Uber white paper, VTOLs will be half as loud as a truck passing a house and weigh far less than a helicopter.
*Condos at the Paramount will be completed in spring 2019 and range from $700,000 to $10 million.