Anyone who has visited Flagler Street in downtown Miami knows the street could use a little TLC. Now, thanks to a partnership between the public and private sectors, downtown’s historic main street stands to benefit from the attention it deserves.
The City of Miami and local business owners have banded together to give Flagler Street a makeover, pooling $6 million for new trees, better sidewalks and crosswalks, and on-street valet parking. But the proposal is by no means a done deal.
The vision for a new and improved Flagler Street relies on Miami-Dade County, which has been asked to commit $6 million to the project. The Mayor supports the idea, and now the County Commission will weigh in on Tuesday July 1st. Failure to pass the measure will essentially leave the already secured dollars on the table and shelve the project indefinitely. You can read all about it here, via The Real Deal.
Undeterred by politics, supporters of the measure are focusing on putting pieces in place to attract a critical mass of top-tier retailers and restaurants. Brain Alonso, whose family runs the upscale La Epoca department store, recently told the Miami Herald that he believes Flagler is at “a similar point where Ocean Drive and Lincoln Road were — interesting things were happening, then they did streetscapes and everything just took off.”
The improvement plan, spearheaded by the Miami Downtown Development Authority, includes improving 80-year-old storm water pipes, removing on-street parking in favor of valet, leveling and extending sidewalks, planting shade trees, and adding better-designed crosswalks. There will be references to downtown Miami’s golden age too: railroad gates that lower for festivals and events and decorative steel train rails embedded along the sidewalk.
Downtown’s population has doubled in recent years, and the number is only growing. By teaming up, the city, county and property owners are in position to help accommodate this growth. “Flagler has good bones,” says Javier Betancourt of the Miami DDA, “We should not turn it into just any other street. It’s a real street. It has a dynamic people are looking for.”
You can read the Miami Herald’s report here.