Sawyer’s Walk: Shopping, Dining & Affordable Senior Housing in Miami’s Historic Overtown

On June 23, I attended my first groundbreaking event since the pandemic started.

At SMS, an integrated communications agency with numerous clients in the residential and commercial real estate industry, ground breakings and ribbon cutting events happen regularly. 

But this groundbreaking was different. Not only was it the first one I attended in over a year and a half, but it was ushering in a transformative project for Miami’s historic Overtown community.

As a Miamian that has been part of the business and civic community for over a decade, seeing the reemergence of so many authentic neighborhoods from Coconut Grove to Allapattah and Little River, it’s exciting to see that Overtown’s time has arrived.

The historic district once served as a home away from home for many black musicians and celebrities visiting Miami because they couldn’t stay in the resorts on Miami Beach due to segregation. Today, Overtown is seeing a renaissance with new residential projects, unique restaurant concepts such as Red Rooster and now the mixed-use development Sawyer’s Walk all helping to write the neighborhood’s next chapter.

The 1.4 million-square-foot project will create almost 600 affordable apartments for low-income seniors, will add 250,000 square feet of retail space to be occupied by supermarket Aldi, Target, Ross Dress for Less, Five Below, and Burlington, among others, and will include a public plaza.

Making Sawyer’s Walk a reality has taken collaboration amongst the City of Miami, the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency, Miami-Dade County’s Housing Department and veteran developer Michael Swerdlow.

Not only will the project bring a major grocery store to Overtown and numerous affordable department stores benefitting seniors who will live just steps away and the surrounding community, but it will also make these brands accessible to the 115,000-plus residents who now reside in neighboring downtown Miami.

This is a win for all! And I look forward to attending the ribbon cutting ceremony in 2023.