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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Use this thread for urban street redesign or just urban designs that would improve cities residents life via improve street designs or parks etc. Think Lincoln road, Flaglers street design or Miami Underline. Some of this has been posted in some other threads but I think a more dedicated thread is in order.

Can a street redesign bring business to Downtown Miami? This resident hopes so
https://thenewtropic.com/can-a-street-redesign-bring-business-to-downtown-miami-this-resident-hopes-so/
WRITTEN BY LANCE DIXON

Downtown’s attracting plenty of new residents and developments, but it’s still not a destination like South Beach or Wynwood, and it’s quest to become a real neighborhood has been a major focus for city leaders, the Downtown Development Agency and groups like the Downtown Neighbors Alliance.

Residents like Stephen Dutton are hoping to change that by getting Downtown residents to stroll, browse, and dine their streets. And Steve hopes to kickstart that with Avenue 3, a plan to turn Northeast Third Avenue – which runs only two blocks – into a pedestrian-friendly zone.

He hopes to mimic streets like Española Way on the Beach and Giralda Avenue in Coral Gables, breathing new life into an area that’s looking for ways to combat homelessness, dwindling business, and after-dark emptiness.

It’s an extremely personal mission for Steve whose husband, Tom Lang, was killed a few years ago after he was attacked by a mentally-ill homeless man. The couple settled here in Miami about five years ago after living in Texas and both of them worked with agencies combating homelessness. Steve decided to stick around in Miami to try and improve the neighborhood in his husband’s memory.

Here’s what Steve’s got in mind for Avenue 3:

THE CONCEPT
Remove the street parking on Third Avenue and replace it with parklets that will allow additional seating for the restaurants on the street. New lighting and colorful awnings would be installed over the restaurants and along the street.

THE STREET
Downtown’s filled with one-way streets and diverging roads, but Northeast Third Avenue is a real anomaly. It goes from Flagler Street to Northeast Second Street but… that’s it. Southeast Third Ave. is a few steps west and extends down to the Miami River. Steve thinks that’s part of what makes his project an easy experiment.

THE CITY’S ROLE
Steve said he wanted as little city involvement as possible so that the project wouldn’t be held up by construction delays or bureaucratic issues. The city does still have to approve certain changes to make room for the project but the installation, at Steve’s planned it, will not be a city-led project.

“The city has given me preliminary approvals to start this, this summer. They’re going to help but they’re not in charge,” Steve told us. “A committee of volunteers that I’ve assembled are in charge.”

He’s still waiting on official city approval to replace the parking spaces and move the seating from the sidewalk into the street. Work is expected to start soon after that.

THE BUSINESSES
The street has a mix of mom-and-pop shops and is home to nearly a dozen restaurants, including a CVI.CHE 105 and a Pizza Rustica. There are also healthy food spots like Ten Fruits and Freshealthy. Steve says a lot of the owners have bought into the idea of changing up the street and are hopeful that the re-design will lead to more foot traffic.

The local U.S. Green Building Council is also offering free consulting to the businesses to help them reduce energy and water costs.

“I’ve promised all the business and restaurants on this two-block street that we’re not going to close [your businesses], we’re going to build a customer base starting right away,” Steve says. “We’re going to transform this street into a destination for Miami.”
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The redesigns going on Flagler Street have been constantly delayed and have huge cost overruns. Even worst many businesses have been hurt so badly they have had to close or are about to close.

New Flagler ‘Festival Street’ design adds $10 million to cost
Written by Catherine Lackner
http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2018/06/20/new-flagler-festival-street-design-adds-10-million-to-cost/

Prospects for the Flagler Street renovation – which has dragged on several years – are suddenly brighter, as leaders of Miami-Dade County, Miami, and the Downtown Development Authority pledged to pump more money into the project.

In February, the downtown authority, which has steered the project since its inception, agreed to consider suggestions by Moishe Mana, an investor who has bought a portfolio of Flagler Street properties. The Mana design would raise the roadbed slightly and eliminating curbs – as has been done in Midtown Miami and Miracle Mile in Coral Gables – to create a “festival street” that would be more open. “It’s a big-sky, tropical vision,” said Dylan Finger, Mana Wynwood managing director, then. “We looked at a broad range of designs.”

There was general agreement that the plan was better than its predecessor. The changes would take about 36 months to complete with the current contractor, and 42 months if a new request for proposals has to be issued, he said then. It would only affect the curbs and roadway; the sidewalks would remain the same, he added.

But the new plan costs a lot more. Authority directors heard Friday that the new budget will be $27.572 million, the shortfall created by the new plan would be $10.34 million, and the project will probably take four more years.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has volunteered $3.8 million from the county, said Ken Russell, authority chair and Miami commissioner.

Chris Rose, Miami budget director, and Nzeribe Ihekwaba, assistant city manager and chief of operations, came up with another proposal. “The city can provide additional funds, but not the entire $10.34 million, or even the $6.54 million [remaining] after the county’s $3.8 million is applied,” said a document distributed to authority directors.

“So the city is proposing that the county provide true ‘halvsies,’ which means $4.17 million, not $3.8 million, with new additional city funding of $4.17 million. And, the city is proposing that the DDA contribute $250,000 for each of the next four years ($1 million) and that there be a second, one-time assessment of $1 million [to Flagler Street property owners], with the city funding its equity share of the second assessment, in addition to the above $4.17 million.”

“After a hard engineering review, we agreed that the city supports the expanded festival street concept,” Mr. Ihekwaba said. “The city should be able to fund some of the deficit, but not the entire amount. It’s only fair: if the county can up its offer, the city will match it, if the commission approves. The city is committed to getting this done.”

“The mayor is enthusiastic about funding the thing,” said Ed Marquez, county deputy mayor. “Ultimately, it must be blessed by the commission, but I’m sure if the city comes up with the money, we’ll match it.”

“We’re very pleased with the mayor’s support – it’s put gas in this tank,” Mr. Russell said. “This is going to be transformative for downtown. Everyone’s in love with the plan, but we have to decide whether we want to do this or not. I think it’s well worth it, if the city is pledging $4 million, to go back to Mayor Gimenez to see if the money is there.”

The money won’t come from the general obligation bond voters approved last November, he added. “This is a want, not a need. We have to spend $20 million to fix failing roads, and the climate on the commission is to start tightening belts. Chris has done a miracle here.”

“This is a phenomenal development,” said Neisen Kasdin, authority vice chair and office-managing partner of Akerman LLP. He co-chairs the Flagler Street Task Force with Brian Alonso, a real estate investor.

“Thanks to Mayor Gimenez and the city, this is huge progress,” Mr. Kasdin said. “I do think we need to look seriously at filling the gap. This is not just any street.”

“This additional deficit is a surprise,” Mr. Alonso said. “But I’ll talk to the stakeholders and find out what’s agreeable to the community.”

“This is exactly the kind of project you invest in,” said Gary Ressler, authority board member and principal of the Tilia family of companies. He said he is confident owners on the street “will fill in the last million.”

Directors voted that the downtown authority will contribute the requested $250,000 per year for four years, beginning this fiscal year, but no more than that. “Make sure the resolution says, ‘But that’s it!’,” Mr. Russell told Barnaby Min, assistant city attorney, to laughter from the group.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Has anyone been to coral Gables Miracle Mile recently? How good was this redesign?

Here is quick questions/answers about this project http://coralgables.com/index.aspx?page=1075

Coral Gables leaders toast completion of first phase of Miracle Mile streetscape work
BY LANCE DIXON
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/coral-gables/article151661387.html

City leaders, merchants and residents gathered Friday for a champagne toast on Miracle Mile in Coral Gables as the first phase of the streetscape construction project was officially unveiled.

Two blocks of the road, from Salzedo to Galiano Street, are complete and feature wider sidewalks with new granite tiles, along with new lighting and trees. Dozens gathered for a celebration of the project’s progress, after some early struggles and delays. The event also featured a performance from the Actors’ Playhouse.

“It’s amazing to see the progress. For 20 years different people in the city have been trying to make this happen,” Commissioner Frank Quesada said.

Merchants on that stretch of the road, like Eddie Snow of Snow’s Jewelers, said that they were happy to see the results of the work after suffering financial losses.

“We’re really happy with it, it looks great. We hope it brings some people back to the Mile,” Snow said.

The remaining work is still behind the initial schedule and streetscape work has shifted to the north side of Miracle Mile. Substantial completion of the work on the Mile is now set for January or February 2018. The initial estimate was August of this year. Substantial completion of the Giralda Avenue work is expected by the middle of next month.

“I guess I wouldn’t be fully relieved until [the project’s] fully done and the foot traffic is back and the merchants have recovered,” Quesada said.

Last month, the City Commission also approved a pilot program to close Giralda to vehicular traffic for the next two years. Giralda will be blocked off to vehicle traffic with removable blockades.

When the work is completed on the two roads the city hopes to see a fully realized modernized look for both streets with pedestrian-friendly design, new lights and trees and other amenities.
 

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It wasn't miracle mile it was a road just north of it, behind all the skyscrapers. And I think it was only 1 block also. I have walked it and it looks very nice. I use to work a job in downtown Gables and would walk by it over and over for months. They (wisely IMO) chose not to go with crappy indigenous non-shade palms but instead picked shade trees that, while young now and not really providing much shade, will do so when they mature.

I don't know exactly how it affected every business but it definitely affected a few negatively due to how long it took. I also think they (city of CG) ended up suing the original developer whoever that was due to the time it was taking and very shortly after I found out about that lawsuit in the papers it... funny enough... got finished very quickly all the sudden.

I cant remember if the suit was settled and same company did the work or they got another company. I just remember hearing about the lawsuit and all the sudden this project that was sitting with ripped up roads, very quickly completed. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the information. The road redesign that has been an absolute nightmare for businesses has been the Flagler one. If you been by that area it looks horrendous. The company doing the design seems to be milking the city as much as they can and elongating the project with new features to get as much money as they can from the city.
 

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Are there any boat tours that go up the Miami river on a regular basis?

There's an interesting idea, how about a ferry that spurs into downtown and has other stops along the way? Another way to travel, without adding infrastructure, using an existing waterway? I know, sounds corny and unpractical right?
 

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The Miami River is a mess past the I-95 overpass. Not sure why anyone would want to take a paid tour up the waterway.

Water Taxi had a pilot program that had service between downtown and the Miami Beach Marina. No one used it.

Probably the fact that it was $15 one-way (compared to $2.50 for bus) had something to do with its failure.
 

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The Miami River is a mess past the I-95 overpass. Not sure why anyone would want to take a paid tour up the waterway.

Water Taxi had a pilot program that had service between downtown and the Miami Beach Marina. No one used it.

Probably the fact that it was $15 one-way (compared to $2.50 for bus) had something to do with its failure.
Well then it seems obvious what the next major overhaul should be in Miami, why not clean up the river, it's banks, docks, etc, and beautify it so it's another extravagant attraction of the area?

As for the fees, they should be considerably higher to ride in the luxury of a boat over a city bus. Especially if it's to and from a high rise luxury condo, say from a parking garage or something. Just thinking of other methods that can "spur" into the city from the outer areas, without using trains or buses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Not sure if shaanmiami, will see this, but if you do what would you have build in that spot if you had the power to do so? Or put another way, what would be the absolute best use of this land?

You said the following
A more “public space” approach would be to create a true master plan that acknowledges these lots as an extension of the North Shore Open Space Park. This type of project can focus on water managment and gathering space, creating functional and aesthetic approaches to the problems of North Beach. They can also perhaps have an educational and cultural component.
Could you go more into detail of what that means? What is a water management and gathering space? Isn't that basically a park?

Lackluster Plans for North Beach Land
https://miami-grid.com/2018/07/02/lackluster-plans-north-beach-land/

Miami Beach is missing a chance to think outside the box, and is at risk of underplaying some of their most valuable cards.
This past year, North Beach approved a Master Plan that set forth a bold upzoning that is a boon for developers and will kickstart development in what is seen as the last frontier of Miami Beach. As part of that plan, Dover, Kohl & Partners suggested various programs for a series of lots the city owns called the West Lots on the West side of Collins Ave. along the North Shore Open Space Park, from 79th to 87th ST.

These lots are owned by the city and currently feature limited parking and unprogrammed green space. They also sit directly across from the North Shore Open Space park, which has a master plan of its own, designed by West 8. The adjacent neighborhood is seen as a working class enclave filled with a large inventory of older buildings that keep rents at relatively low levels. These older buildings densely pack the neighborhood with limited parking, forcing a lot of the residents to rely on public transit and local entertainment options, however the area is underserved in terms of food and retail options. The waterfront here also has a number of luxury buildings along the water, including the under-construction Eighty-Seven Park and L’Atelier, boasting high sales in an area previously thought of not to command extravagant prices.

Dover, Kohl & Partners released a tentative plan that appears to be a mixed bag of disconnected uses. The plan did not appear to be creative in scope nor attempt to connect to the open space park across the street. From South to North they proposed a parking garage, a recreation park, North Beach Yard, a “water square”, an Eco-Hotel with a market, a playground with gardens, a “bohemian village”, and an Eco-Tech and Teen center. Without unpacking what all of those things mean, I believe and hope this is simply a framework for moving forward and not a proposal.

Miami Beach should develop a new process for the development of these prime assets. In 2015, Paris had a number of post-industrial pieces of land and instead of bidding and selling them in a normal “highest bidder” process, they created an international competition called Reinventer Paris. Its ambition it was to create teams of developers and designers that would propose uses of the land that would provide both public benefit and economic return.
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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Hopefully this new up-zoning goes through on July 31st, and wont be hampered. Similar up-zoning has been talked about (not sure if approved) for DownTown Homestead, around the area they hope the new busway or Metro-Rail will go.

Taller buildings and micro-units? North Beach’s new hub isn’t making everyone happy
https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article214983430.html

North Beach’s new main street might include tiny apartments, 200-foot towers and homes that double as businesses.

This vision for the “Town Center” area along 71st Street, developed by city planners, is designed to turn a stretch of the island that has seen little development into a hub where residents can live, work, shop and eat without ever getting into a car.
...


Mooney and his team have proposed allowing developers to build up to 200 feet if they provide a public benefit, such as affordable housing or a contribution to a fund that could be used for a variety of neighborhood projects. He said limiting the height to 12 stories (125 feet), which was recommended in the master plan for North Beach, would generate “static” buildings and wouldn’t leave much room for creativity.

“We wanted to build in the ability for a good architect to be able to creatively redistribute” the allowed density in a taller structure, Mooney said.

In addition to allowing micro-units — tiny, furnished apartments in buildings with shared amenities — city planners have recommended permitting artisanal retail where goods like artwork, food and beer are produced and sold on-site and neighborhood fulfillment centers where shoppers can pick up goods they order online. Units where residents can live and work in the same space would also be allowed.

But not everyone agrees with this vision for Town Center.

The redevelopment of the area between Collins Avenue and Indian Creek Drive/Dickens Avenue from 69th Street to 72nd Street was approved by voters last November when they authorized an increase in density. Voters approved an increase in the overall size of buildings in the area, but the referendum didn’t get into specifics. That was left up to the city’s planning department.

Some residents object to allowing 200-foot towers and are skeptical about the micro-units, which they say will only attract tourists. (Short-term rentals are legal in the Town Center area.)

North Beach activist Kirk Paskal said 200-foot towers weren’t what voters envisioned when they cast their ballots because the height increase hadn’t been included in the master plan or agreed to by residents.

“Now suddenly, this new urgency for more height could severely damage the character of North Beach in a drastic and permanent way,” he said in an email. “Any public benefits that may be proposed by way of this last minute effort to stray from the plan, could not justly recompense the harm that would be inflicted on the alluring human scale and cohesive character of North Beach by the incompatible and oppressive height of 200 [feet].”

Paula King, a longtime North Beach resident, also has concerns about the maximum height. “What they’re looking for is to build these high needles that are higher than any other building in North Beach so they can have the view and charge more for it,” she said. “Miami Beach is not New York. We don’t have the infrastructure to support this.”

Tiny living
Micro-units are a trend in urban areas among residents who are willing to trade space for the opportunity to live in a neighborhood they couldn’t otherwise afford. Projects have sprouted up in Wynwood and downtown Miami, as well as in Miami Beach. A new micro-unit project at 6080 Collins Ave. offers apartments as small as 350 square feet, about the size of two parking spaces. Other micro-unit projects are in the works on South Beach’s Washington Avenue.

Mooney and his team have proposed allowing micro-units in hotels and apartment buildings in Town Center as long as the building includes plenty of shared amenities like community kitchens, business centers and gyms.

Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez is skeptical the micro-units will appeal to North Beach residents, however. “What you have right there is a massive amount of transient tourism,” she said.

“It really is not reflective of what the community wanted,” she added, referring to the micro-units and the proposed height limits. “We can’t turn North Beach into South Beach.”

....

“I think we need to be open minded and flexible,” he said. “We can’t be rigid and just stick to the way we’ve always done things. The facts are that we are losing our millennial generation across the bay.”

North Beach residents have mixed views on the proposals.

Miguel Gonzalez, 36, said he wasn’t sure there is a market for micro-units right now due to a lack of job opportunities and public transportation. But Gonzalez, a lawyer who lives within walking distance of Town Center, said that could change “if you could work and live in the same place,” like in downtown Miami. “If they can convert this into that kind of area,” he said, more young people might be interested.

Judith Acame, 77, lives in the Town Center area and said she thought the micro-units would appeal to young people, but not to low-income retirees like her. “People my age will have to move to cheaper areas,” she said in Spanish.

Acame said she loves living in the neighborhood because she can walk to her yoga and Tai chi classes and to a nearby senior center. If the area gets more expensive and fills with buildings catering to young people, “I guess I’d have to go to Hialeah, where my brother lives,” she said.

Ultimately, the city will have to be flexible in order to attract economic development to North Beach, said Commissioner John Elizabeth Alemán.

“North Beach’s Town Center District has seen little new development since the concept originated in 2003,” she said in an email. “This time around, it is imperative that the Commission err on the side of growth and progress. The North Beach community craves results.”

The planning department’s proposal, included in the draft of an ordinance that will regulate area development, will be evaluated by the city’s planning board on July 24 and by the Land Use and Development committee on July 31. The City Commission will have final say.

The draft ordinance includes a number of other proposals, including provisions to ensure ample space between towers so that air and light filter down, limits on the numbers of hotel rooms and apartments, and noise reduction requirements for businesses that provide entertainment.

Miami Herald staff writer Rene Rodriguez contributed to this report
 

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Has anyone been to coral Gables Miracle Mile recently? How good was this redesign?

Here is quick questions/answers about this project http://coralgables.com/index.aspx?page=1075
It wasn't miracle mile it was a road just north of it, behind all the skyscrapers. And I think it was only 1 block also. I have walked it and it looks very nice. I use to work a job in downtown Gables and would walk by it over and over for months. They (wisely IMO) chose not to go with crappy indigenous non-shade palms but instead picked shade trees that, while young now and not really providing much shade, will do so when they mature.

I don't know exactly how it affected every business but it definitely affected a few negatively due to how long it took. I also think they (city of CG) ended up suing the original developer whoever that was due to the time it was taking and very shortly after I found out about that lawsuit in the papers it... funny enough... got finished very quickly all the sudden.

I cant remember if the suit was settled and same company did the work or they got another company. I just remember hearing about the lawsuit and all the sudden this project that was sitting with ripped up roads, very quickly completed. ;)
Besides Giralda, which Gringo is talking about, Miracle Mile was redesigned for the better in my opinion. Much more inviting. Besides all the cosmetic changes the sidewalks were widened to make space for outdoor restaurant seating while having plenty of space for pedestrians. There's a couple new crosswalks with lighting, and curbs were removed while parking was switched to parallel. Downtown Coral Gables is just getting that much better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I recently came from a trip to Seattle, and man what a beautiful city. So many great parks, the views were great and you could walk easily from place to place with out fearing for you life as you crossed the street. And public transport was fantastic, though very costly.

IMO, the main issue with many cities in Florida, is that they are very young. The more time that passes, the greater the culture and love for their city that residents will have. They would want more quality of life improvements such as better parks and more shade trees (not palm trees). This place is still far too young and the residents are mostly new comers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Even though it is said in this article that this is to help developers, narrower streets are also really great news for pedestrians. It means it is easier to cross streets and less potential for cars to hit people. However, I am not sure if this means wider sidewalks or just more room for buildings.

Downtown Miami Streets May Become Narrower By Code, Helping Developers
https://www.thenextmiami.com/downtown-miami-streets-may-become-narrower-by-code-helping-developers/

Miami’s code may soon be modified for narrower street widths in parts of downtown Miami.

If commissioners approve, portions of three downtown streets would have legally narrower widths: 5th Street, 6th Street and 1st Avenue.

The new rules would benefit property owners, who may be permitted to develop based on the less restrictive calculations.

Miami commissioners are scheduled to vote on the changes at a meeting July 26.
 

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Just more room for buildings. It's only 3 streets thought, and 5th and 6th streets (if were talking NE not SE) aren't exactly heavily trafficked anyway. A lot of people getting upset on TMN comments section but I don't see how it really makes that much difference either way. All the sections mentioned in the paper are very under developed parts of downtown (close to MWC and Brightline station, and further from the core). It's like all the complainers never read anything and just wanted to complain on TMN (kinda like normally).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If there is one place in Miami that can and should be the most pedestrian friendly place in Florida it would be Miami Beach. Hope they pull this off well.

Danish Urban Design Firm Says Miami Beach’s 41st Street Should Be Greener, More Pedestrian Friendly
https://www.thenextmiami.com/danish-urban-design-firm-says-miami-beachs-41st-street-should-be-greener-more-pedestrian-friendly/

Miami Beach’s 41st Street is built for cars, not for people, a new study by Denmark-based design firm Gehl says.

The analysis was presented to the Mayor’s 41st Street Committee, at a meeting on August 1.

Few people are actually hanging out or walking out on the street, a pedestrian count showed. City leaders want to change that.

One of the biggest issues is a lack of shade. Other problems include narrows sidewalks, poorly timed crosswalks, and almost no space to congregate.

Gehl is recommending that a pilot program to add parklets, shade, play areas and better lighting be added be up and running within 20 to 30 weeks.

Later permanent construction could be funded by issuing bonds.

The committee unanimously voted to adopt Gehl’s recommendations.
 

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I agree with making it more ped friendly but the detractors have a point.

It's a major entrance arterial onto the beach for what (since politicians have ensured through years of bad planning and lack of mass transit) is the ONLY VEHICLE capable of bringing large amounts of people onto said beach... the automobile.

In other words... put some freaking mass transit down already so half the city doesn't HAVE TO get to the beach by flooding 41st St (and 5th). with car traffic. Not to mention all the extra parking needed around the beach for those not taking an Uber/Lyft. STOP HAVING BAYLINK STUDIES AND BUILD ALREADY!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The ideas from other cities showed in the presentation are really beautiful. It shows what good urban design can do to enhance the city. I think the design should go though (as shown in the presentation), this would benefit the locals more than anything. Helping build a place for young and old to enjoy. The ideas and concepts shown in Gehl's presentation would be very unique and new for our area so I really hope it gets done. If only to show some new ways of designing streets to the rest of Miami.

Also, man some of those comments under the article talking about this firm being socialist due to being from Denmark is astounding, what is up with some people.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
I never went to this place but from reading around online there are many who loved and will miss this place. This leads me to wonder something, as lower income artsy, cultural areas such as Wynwood start getting increased in value, and bought out by developers is there anything that can or should be done to preserve the culture of these areas/buildings? I have heard about places like this in other cities large and small where struggling artist go to live and have art shows/colonies as well as bars, cafes, niche restaurants which then help upscale the area only to be replaced by much more upper income condos/stores.

My question is can we not have both, and if so how?

Learning from the closing of Wynwood Yard
https://miami-grid.com/2018/09/11/wynwood-yard-closing/

Wynwood Yard and O Cinema are closing to make way for a 189 unit apartment building. While it may feel like the loss of something special, it is a winning test case for projects like it across the city and has broader implications for urban development.

Della Heiman began Wynwood Yard 3 years ago with a thesis of creating an incubator for Miami’s burgeoning food and music scene. The Yard was a slow but steady success, hosting beloved events such as morning yoga, Reggae Sunday’s, Shabbat Dinners, and cooking lessons. Eventually, Shakira performed a secret concert there, Charcoal Restaurant and bar opened there, and countless charities and fundraisers have hosted their events there. It was a meeting of the minds of Miami’s young and hungry, but it was always meant to be a temporary one.

David Lombardi (and a few partners) assembled 1.26 acres in Wynwood between 2003-2005, before a significant price increase in the area. The zoning allowed 190 units to be built on the assembled land, but the area did not have the rental or sale values to justify the “highest and best use” of the property, so the partners decided to sit on the property until it matured. Using the existing retail spaces on the site, the ownership group signed leases with O Cinema, Art Miami, and Tree Scapes. However, the center site was a large empty plot of land, and it did not make sense to spend money on a plot they were going to sell, so it sat empty.

Enter Della Heiman, who offered to lease the site on a Temporary Use Permit (TUP), activating the site while it awaited maturation. The TUP, which is only in the City of Miami, is meant for short-term projects and has fewer hurdles than the usual Zoning and Building Permits required for a restaurant space. This mutual arrangement allowed Wynwood Yard to open, Lombardi to garner a small income, and the site to have activity and programming, bettering the neighborhood and accelerating the maturation of the site. Sadly, the success of Wynwood Yard is the very thing that eventually led to its end. The proof of this Miami cultural institution, in addition to the many other early movers in the area, have shown developers across the country that Wynwood can be a place for sustained residential development, bringing tens of cranes into the once sea of one-story industrial spaces.

Eventually, the ownership group led by David Lombardi sold the land to Lennar Group, who plans to build a 189 unit apartment building called “Wynwood Green.” However, in the time of maturation, Wynwood Yard, as a concept, was created and is in the works to open up on a city-owned parcel in North Beach. O Cinema now has 2 locations, one closing in Wynwood, but one reaming open in Miami Beach operating in the Byron Carlyle Theater. Without the use of this maturation period, it is possible that neither of these beloved cultural institutions would be household names in Miami, and live on in other spaces. In addition, this story shows developers that holding empty land in areas awaiting maturation is not the best use of it. Mutual arrangments can be made between developers and gutsy tenants willing to take risks. These temporary spaces can allow for Miami’s most creative to make mistakes, test out new ideas, and showcase Miami’s raw talent.
 

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While it is sad that this is happening, it's also a natural part of things I think to have the creative destruction going on. Artsy people will move into a neighborhood, fix it up, rents will rise, and they will move on (some willingly, some not).

As cruel as it sounds to say this, I have a hard time having sympathy for those who didn't buy years ago when prices were cheap. When you "rent" something... you are willingly giving up not only any equity in a place... but the right to control your destiny in regards to it and that includes having your own fortunes take off when the rest of the place does.

We all should buy more houses/apts/condos like our elders did. It makes us more invested in our neighborhoods. Instead of "consumers" like when we rent a place. Chuck Mahron talks about this a lot on his Strong Towns podcast, and I agree.
 
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