The Real Deal Miami

Lemon City? Make that Little Haiti – neighborhood lands designation

Little Haiti advocates said developers are already gentrifying the neighborhood

May 27, 2016 09:50AM

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Little Haiti (Credit: Marc Averette)

Little Haiti (Credit: Marc Averette)

Little Haiti is now an official neighborhood.

City of Miami commissioners unanimously approved the creation of legal boundaries at a contentious and lively meeting on Thursday – a vote that has been years in the making. 

The new boundaries are: roughly between 54th Street and 79th Street, and Northwest Sixth Avenue and Northeast Second Avenue.

Advocates of Lemon City, a neighborhood that predates Miami’s incorporation, said the designation could wipe out the area’s history and heritage, the Miami Herald reported. Miami’s first school and library were founded in Lemon City. Opponents of Little Haiti called the boundaries insensitive to the Bahamian founders of Lemon City, according to the newspaper.

Meanwhile, Haitian activists voiced concerns that Little Haiti would disappear due to gentrification in a neighborhood that developers, like Avra Jain, are already active in.

Last year, the first co-working space in Little Haiti opened, MADE at the Citadel. A group of developers led by Thomas Conway spent nearly $1 million redeveloping the MiMo-style 26,000-square-foot building, and invested about $5 million in land in the neighborhood. At the time, Conway called it “mindful gentrification.”

A New York City-based bakery also announced plans to open in a 4,000-square-foot space at 5550 Northeast Fourth Avenue. The owner of Sullivan Street Bakery is partnering with Steven Perricone of Perricone’s Marketplace & Cafe in Brickell, which owns the building.

Commission Chairman Keon Hardemon proposed the boundaries, and said on Thursday that “Everything that we do we say Little Haiti. But we won’t pay the homage to actually identify this community,” according to the Herald. [Miami Herald] – Katherine Kallergis