For the second time in eight years, the Downtown Development Authority has a chance to revamp Flagler Street with hopes of spurring more development along Miami’s main downtown block.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Miami-Dade County commissioners unanimously approved funding nearly half of a $13 million plan to spruce up the sidewalks on Flagler Street from Biscayne Boulevard to North Miami Avenue. In 2006, a $10 million restoration turned out to be “poorly designed, poorly implemented and poorly maintained,” Downtown Development Authority deputy director Javier Betancourt told The Real Deal last week.
The latest proposal calls for expanding and straightening sidewalks, along with adding trees, benches and bicycle racks. The sidewalks will also be designed to resemble railroad tracks, harkening back to the days of Miami’s founding father Henry Flagler. The authority’s Flagler Street Task Force came up with the project to attract private investors to redevelop the historic downtown corridor.
County commissioners, without discussion, agreed to use $6 million from an infrastructure improvement bond program, matching an equal contribution from the City of Miami. Downtown Miami property and business owners are putting up the remaining $1 million. —Francisco Alvarado