Take a look at the future of downtown Miami’s Flagler Street

After years of planning, improvements to downtown Miami’s historic Flagler Street have begun with the groundbreaking of the $13 million renovation and beautification project.

The project, geared to modernize downtown Miami and make it more pedestrian friendly, includes new bike racks, enhanced crosswalks, new street lighting, upgraded sidewalks and oak trees. Moveable railroad gates will also be incorporated to block traffic during events and steel train rail details will be added along the sidewalks.

Miami-based Curtis + Rogers Design Studio, along with the city and the DDA task force developed the plan. The city of Miami, Miami-Dade County, the Miami Downtown Development Authority and property owners are funding the project.

Downtown was one of the earliest areas to be developed in Miami in the 1890s. During that time Henry Flagler, principal of Standard Oil, founded Florida East Coast Railway, which today owns All Aboard Florida. The project will begin near AllAboard’s MiamiCentral station and move toward Biscayne Boulevard.

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The renovation will focus on the half-mile stretch between the Miami-Dade County Courthouse and Biscayne Boulevard, according to a release. That area includes Olympia Theater, the Alfred DuPont building, the Art Deco-style building that houses La Epoca, a boutique department store.

Brian Alonso, co-owner of La Epoca and co-chair of the DDA’s Flagler Street task force, previously told The Real Deal that the improvements will complement planned development in the area, and will be oriented toward restaurants and “interesting retail.”

Prices for commercial properties on and near Flagler Street have soared over the last two years, with developer and investor Moishe Mana leading the resurgence. Mana has spent more than $200 million downtown on buildings, parking lots and garages.

The improvement plan is slated for completion by the end of 2017. – Katherine Kallergis