The words “Miami Beach” resonate around the world, conjuring visions of swanky hotels, fine dining, expansive beaches, and raging nightlife.
But in the eyes of those of us who live in South Florida, Miami Beach is defined by its colorful and walkable neighborhoods, places like South of Fifth and Sunset Harbor.
Soon, locals will have another shopping, dining and entertainment destination in Miami Beach – and residents will have a new place to call home.
A November referendum in Miami Beach weighed voter opinion surrounding a proposal to bring a revitalized Town Center district to Miami Beach’s North Beach neighborhood. The 10-square block stretch along 71st street has sat undeveloped for decades, handcuffed by stringent zoning restrictions.
Four years ago, City officials identified North Beach as an area ripe for redevelopment and launched a master planning process that involved more than 1,000 residents. The City approved a vision for North Beach in 2016, and property owners are onboard with the idea of bringing retail, offices, restaurants, new public spaces and attainable housing.
Despite this consensus, the measure still required the will of voters. Approval of Town Center would be no small feat: Miami Beach residents have never passed a comprehensive zoning change.
Knowing the odds, our team undertook a months-long campaign led by residents, business owners, preservationists and property owners to educate voters and galvanize community support. Media coverage, voter outreach, digital advertising, content creation, direct marketing and social media engagement all factored into the mix.
By election day, the “North Beach Now” campaign had garnered a favorable endorsement from the Miami Herald editorial board, more than 200,000 digital media impressions, and over 12,000 website visits in just six weeks.
Most importantly, 60 percent of Miami Beach voters supported the ballot measure, opening the door to low and mid-rise buildings, streetscape improvements, and improved pedestrian access to the beach in one of South Florida’s most promising neighborhoods.
A bonus: with the rezoning will come new historic districts designed to preserve architecturally significant buildings in North Beach. Creation of those districts were key to winning voter support for Town Center – proving once again that responsible development and historic preservation can coexist.
See you in the (new-look) North Beach soon!