Miami Beach commissioners gave their approval to a measure that will allow Lincoln Road business and property owners to create a special assessment district at a commission meeting late Wednesday that also unveiled the area’s master plan and approved a $300.364 million budget for the city.
Under the Business Improvement District or BID, area business and property owners will be able to create a maintenance and management program for Lincoln Road, which was approved for 10 years. Supporters say the creation of a Lincoln Road BID will improve code enforcement, security and maintenance.
Similar BIDs in Coconut Grove and the Wynwood District have been largely supported by business and property owners, and are credited for a general improvement in those areas.
Major national and international retailers have increased their presence on Lincoln Road in recent years, with a new Apple store opening earlier this year, and a mammoth Nike planned for a 30,000-square-foot multistory building right next door on the corner of Lenox Avenue and Lincoln Road. Marshalls is also moving to the area.
The BID approval comes as commissioners and the public this week got a first look at a final master plan for Lincoln Road which will overhaul the pedestrian-only street that stretches east to west across Miami Beach. The plan, designed by New York landscape architects James Corner Field Operations, will overhaul Lincoln Road, enlarging sidewalks, adding extensive landscaping and turning some side streets and back alleys into pedestrian walkways that will serve new retail and restaurant venues.
James Corner, whose firm is designing New York’s High Line and the Underline in Miami calls Lincoln Road the “connective spine that binds Miami Beach together.”
Corner told The Real Deal that opening up side streets and back alleys will eventually turn Lincoln Road into a “Lincoln District,” with a wide range of options for consumers and business owners. “For example (there will be) the larger stores, and the larger restaurants on Lincoln Road, with mid-size ones on the north-south streets and some smaller more local eclectic uses in the alleyways,” giving more places for people to stroll and explore different things.”
He said a major challenge facing the redevelopment of Lincoln Road is to integrate cafes and restaurants into a space that was not originally designed for dining. A key part of the master plan, he said, will be to create 15-foot wide strips allowing for open-air dining that will have new canopy structures built into the ground at regular intervals with central columns holding electrical outlets for lighting.
Some restaurant owners have expressed concerns about the master plan, saying that when construction starts, their businesses could be in jeopardy. Marsha Maya, who owns Maya Tapas and Grill in the 800 block, represents the Lincoln Road restaurant and retail association. She told TRD that construction elsewhere on Miami Beach has already put other businesses out of business. “We are very concerned about how invasive the construction is going to be, because people will not want to come and go shopping on Lincoln Road and sit down and have a meal if they have to walk on planks and if there is going to be construction dust and so forth.”
Corner says he and city officials recognize those concerns and construction will be staged from one side of Lincoln Road to the other as well as to the center portion of Lincoln Road to accommodate restaurants and cafes. Commissioners also pledged that no construction would take place during the peak winter season.
The commission is expected to approve the master plan at the next meeting on Oct. 14.