Flagler Street to Become More Business and Pedestrian-Friendly?

Miami Today reported last week that the County might have a little extra pocket change to dish out to the Miami Downtown Development Authority to make some improvements to Flagler Street. Last year the DDA commissioned a study of Flagler Street and the study called for  “wide sidewalks that are clean, safe, uncluttered and shaded; cohesive design elements such as landscaping, street furniture and art; urban parks, plazas and open space; regularly occurring street festivals and events; and classic trolley service to other downtown destinations.”

Flagler needs a major face-lift. We can start by getting rid of the large business-unfriendly vases that block the storefronts. These planters are killing business for retailers. Anyone driving by cannot see the storefronts-they are completely blocked by the vases. They should be removed immediately and replaced with shade trees (no palm trees please!).  Let’s not neglect to mention that the planters are occupying value real estate which could be better utilized by pedestrians and restaurants.

The planters are hurting businesses along Flager Street. Can you tell that this is Lime?

Just a bad idea.

Flagler clearly needs wider sidewalks as well.  The apartments downtown are filling up quick and our pedestrian infrastructure needs to keep pace with the growth that our urban core is currently experiencing.

Let's widen the sidewalks.

Small Scale Rental Development Workshop – February 28

Holiday Inn Miami Doral Area

3255 NW 87th Avenue
Miami, FL 33172
(305) 500-9000

This is a two day workshop.  This form registers you for Part 1 – February 28, 2012, 8:30- 4:30.  When finished you will have the opportunity to register for Part 2: March 6, 2012, 8:30-4:30

More than 70 percent of the United States’ affordable housing stock consists of small scale rental properties. In Florida alone there are approximately  400,000  units in multi-family developments containing 9 units or less, with the average age of this stock being 40 years old. Until recently, most of the development activities in Florida focused on single family homeownership and large tax credit funded new construction. The housing bust, combined with the creation of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program has created opportunities for nonprofit developers to acquire and rehab some of these smaller developments, but this business line is not without its challenges.

This two day workshop will provide participants with the information they need to understand the financial challenges surrounding small scale development and how to address them. The training will also provide you with tools to help you evaluate your organizational capacity to implement this business line, help you understand the market,  as well as  likely  funding sources. We will also dive deep into property and asset management for the owner of small scale deals.

NOTE: This is an advanced workshop designed for those with development experience or experience underwriting and financing rental developments. Participants should also have a working knowledge of rental operating proformas.

For more information and to register please click here.

Great Bagels, Pizza and Urbanism

The New Yorker in me loves a good bagel and slice of pizza. I also love some good urbanism.  Luckily I have found all three in Midtown. Believe it or not, Brooklyn Bagles and Primo Pizza actually import New York City tap water to make their bagels and pizza. The owners believe that the water makes all the difference in the dough-I have to agree with them. Brooklyn Bagels and Primo Pizza are independently owned and the deli and pizza shop are next-door neighbors.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Brooklyn Bagels makes the best bagel in Miami and Primo Pizza has the best slice in Miami.

Brooklyn Bagels-Best Bagel in Miami

Primo Pizza-Best Slice of Pizza in Miami

The food at these establishments is great, but so is the urbanism where the stores are located.  Midtown was developed to be a walkable urban environment; thus far it has achieved what it has set out to do.  There is density, the streets are narrow to discourage cars from speeding, and the sidewalks are wide and shaded by trees to encourage walking.  Streets are lined with parallel parking and bollards that act as a protective buffer between cars and pedestrians that makes pedestrians feel safe while walking. Cars were not the main concern when Midtown was designed; pedestrians were the priority.

Raised crosswalks calm traffic and discourage speeding. Bollards act as a buffer between cars and pedestrians.

Narrow streets and parallel parking discourage speeding, calm traffic, and act as a buffer between the street and sidewalk activity. Parallel parking is also necessary for businesses to survive. Brooklyn Bagels and Primo Pizza customers need to have accessible parking in order for these establishments to survive.

Wide sidewalks easily accommodate outdoor seating and allow for pedestrians to walk comfortably. Shade trees provide pedestrians and diners a bit of relief from the sun.

Great urbanism makes for an even better place to enjoy my favorite foods.

Brooklyn Bagels and Primo Pizza are located at 3451 Northeast 1st Avenue

Brickell Restaurant Roundup-New Openings

Brickell will see at least four new restaurants in the neighborhood within the coming months.

Taverna Opa shuttered its doors a few months ago on South Beach and has decided to move across Biscayne Bay and open its first restaurant on the mainland at Mary Brickell Village. For those of you that have never been to Taverna Opa you should give it a try. Be prepared to dance on tables and eat some tasty and reasonably priced greek tapas.

Also, coming to Mary Brickell Village is Brother Jimmy’s BBQ. This will be their first restaurant location in Florida. They currently have six locations in Manhattan and Brother Jimmy’s BBQ just recently opened new restaurants in San Juan and St. Maarten.

Toscana Divino will open on the ground floor of Mary Brickell Village on February 11th. Occupancy at Mary Brickell Village will hover near 100% with the addition of these three new restaurants.

Tikl Raw Bar and Grill is slated to open on the ground floor of 1450 Brickell sometime in March. According the Miami New Times the concept will be a “raw bar and grill, all small plates…based on the Japanese Izakaya pub concept.”

These are all encouraging signs for Brickell. Retail tends to lag behind housing, so as people continue to move into the urban core, we will continue to see a proliferation of new retailers coming into the area. Welcome to the barrio.