After a year of construction, only one block of Flagler Street has been completed with new sidewalks, shade trees, lighting and blacktop.
Construction of the $13 million renovation and beautification project, geared toward modernizing downtown Miami and making it more pedestrian friendly, is moving at a snail’s pace, according to the Miami Herald. And now, Miami Downtown Development Authority wants to sign an agreement with the city that clarifies its role in the project.
The DDA, which developed the plan, originally wanted contractor FH Paschen fired. But the city wants Paschen to speed up construction to compensate for lost time. And the contractor requested a roughly nine-month extension for the project, blaming delays on “forgotten old utility lines underground” that didn’t match city records, the Herald reported.
After complaints from the DDA, the city replaced the supervisor in charge of the contract and hired an outside engineer to investigate the delays.
In recent years, prices for commercial properties on and near Flagler Street have soared, with developer and investor Moishe Mana leading the resurgence. Mana has spent more than $200 million downtown on buildings, parking lots and garages. And other investors and property owners are holding out for an improved Flagler Street with new bike racks, enhanced crosswalks, new street lighting, upgraded sidewalks and oak trees. Miami-based Curtis + Rogers Design Studio designed the plans.
Along with the city of Miami, Miami-Dade County and the DDA funding the project are property owners via a $1 million special assessment. Amid the delays, businesses are suffering, especially where construction has torn up sidewalks and fenced off streets.
A similar story could be told of the Coral Gables streetscape improvements, where construction delays have impacted retailers and restaurants along Miracle Mile and Giralda Street. [Miami Herald] – Katherine Kallergis