North Miami’s plans to create a Chinatown are a step closer to becoming a reality.
The North Miami Community Redevelopment Agency approved the city’s master plan for the Chinatown Cultural Arts and Innovation District on Tuesday. The plan, which cost the city $175,000, calls for the municipality to spend $5 million on infrastructure, streetscape and business grants in the new Chinatown district, which runs from 119th Street to 135th Street on Northwest Seventh Avenue.
While the master plan was just approved, the city designated the area as “Chinatown” in February 2016.
The master plan, prepared by urban designer Keith & Schnars and completed in July, features two gateways to the district on the north and south.
“What I’m voting on is a generic plan, Carol Keys, a North Miami Councilwoman and CRA board said. “If it doesn’t turn out” to be a Chinatown in the traditional sense, “we will still have a beautiful enhancement of Northwest Seventh Avenue, designed to attract new investment.”
The Chinese designs featured in the master plan, such as red gateways to the district, are only guidelines, and the plan’s Chinese architecture are “not a mandatory motif,” she said. Regardless, funds will be available to upgrade streets, put in water features that are really drainage enhancements, a median parkway and 10-foot sidewalks, Keys said.
The redevelopment of the Chinatown District will be done on a site-by-site basis. “Everything won’t look the same, and developers will not be coerced into changing their facades if they don’t want to,” Rasha Soray-Cameau, the North Miami CRA director said in May. But grants will be available to local businesses that want to upgrade their facades.