Underline linear park seeks private donors as reveal nears

Proposed rendering of the Underline Brickell
Proposed rendering of the Underline's Brickell portion

Friends of the Underline, the group behind the planned 10-mile long linear park and urban trail in Miami-Dade County, has launched a real estate committee to raise funds for the project, which will release its master plan to the public on Monday.

Meg Daly and Arden Karson

Meg Daly and Arden Karson

The real estate sub-committee, co-led by Related Group Senior Vice President Arden Karson, includes developers, lawyers and government officials, Karson told The Real Deal. It is focusing on fundraising, advocacy and “support on the real estate front,” she said. Twenty percent of the project’s total budget will need to be raised privately.

The Underline runs on the M-Path, underneath the Metrorail tracks in Miami-Dade, starting in Brickell and going through Coconut Grove, Coral Gables and South Miami and ending at Dadeland Station. Ken Krasnow of Colliers International South Florida and Brent Reynolds of NP International are also co-chairs of the sub-committee.

A proposed rendering of the Underline

A proposed rendering of the Underline

Each segment has its own budget, Karson said. The Brickell portion has $5 million in public funding and will need up to $2 million in private funding. “We intend to access all of the available sources of funds – corporate sponsors, private donors, grants – to fulfill our budget,” she said. The public funding breaks down to $3 million from Miami-Dade County, $1 million from the city of Miami impact fees and $1 million from a Florida Department of Transportation grant.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Friends of the Underline, led by Meg Daly, and James Corner Field Operations will release the project’s master plan at a VIP event on Wednesday and to the public on Monday.

James Corner, the same design firm behind the High Line in New York, has also designed the Lincoln Road master plan. The Underline unveiling will showcase the bicycle and pedestrian paths and details such as parks, graphics, benches and sports venues, Karson said.

“It’s interesting because I think the destination parks make the project magnificent, but I think that will be privately sponsored,” Daly told TRD, referring to the Brickell and University of Miami portions.

The Brickell section will have picnic areas, a nature-driven playground, native vegetation, and will connect to the Miami River. Also included will be an outdoor gym between Eighth and Ninth streets, which Daly called an “urban surprise” in the heart of the Greater Downtown Miami region.

Related’s Brickell Heights, Baptist Health South Florida, Building.Co, iStaffMiami, Perrier, Pinnacle Housing Group, Standard Parking and transportation service Freebee, will sponsor the VIP unveiling on Wednesday.

Construction on the Brickell portion will hopefully begin next year, RJ de Varona, managing partner of Alfa SF Equity, told TRD. De Varona, a member of the real estate committee, is developing a project next to the Coconut Grove Metrorail station. He said “the only thing Miami is missing is that public transportation component.”

“How can we let people in South Florida be comfortable letting go of their cars [without that]?” he said.