Master plan unveiled for redevelopment of Miami’s Arsht District

Feb.February 01, 2012 05:30 PM

The Town Square Neighborhood Development Corporation today unveiled its “aspirational” master plan for a sweeping overhaul of the area surrounding the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami.

The project is headed by architect Cesar Pelli, who himself designed the Arsht Center, which opened in 2006.

“This master plan is being presented, respectfully, as an aspirational plan, and ‘aspiration’ is a very key word,” said developer Armando Codina, chairman of the Town Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, who was speaking at an unveiling at the Ziff Ballet Opera House. “We hope this will inspire elected officials, property owners and stakeholders to seize the opportunity that is ours today — we hope it will become what our neighborhood may look like.”

It represents another large-scale idea for downtown Miami, which has seen more and more developers entering the fray with big projects — from Genting’s plan for a casino resort on Biscayne Bay (and purchase of the nearby Omni Mall) to the Brickell CitiCentre development and the Miami Worldcenter project.

Codina acknowledged the Arsht Center does not itself own any other property in the area, and that for the plan the developer was mindful of both the recently enacted Miami 21 zoning rules and the rights of property owners.

“Only elected officials of the commission have the authority, and property owners have property rights,” Codina said. “Having said that, we nevertheless feel an obligation to dream, to engage and, if necessary, to fight to ensure that this area evolves into a vibrant neighborhood.”

The project plans for mixed-use development, including residential and commercial, along with a chain of public parks that would connect Dorsey Park in Overtown with Museum Park on the bay, the future site of the Jorge M. Perez Art Museum.

Attorney Michael Eidson, the treasurer of the Town Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, said the Arsht Center would play a big role in the neighborhood moving forward.

“We must make it clear that the Arsht Center wants to be part of this effort, but also has the responsibility to do so,” he said. “The centerpiece of the center’s mission is to be a catalyst for economic development in this area.”

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