Miami Beach approves Lincoln Road master plan

Photos of the existing improvements on Lincoln Road (left) and renderings of the new Lincoln Road master plan (right) (Credit: James Corner Field Operations)
Photos of the existing improvements on Lincoln Road (left) and renderings of the new Lincoln Road master plan (right) (Credit: James Corner Field Operations)

Miami Beach commissioners on Wednesday unanimously approved a final master plan for Lincoln Road that will overhaul 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 as new retail and restaurant venues.

Steve Gombinski, the president of the Lincoln Road Property Owners Association told The Real Deal that with the vote plans to revitalize Lincoln Road can now move forward. “It’s going to bring back and highlight the historical elements that have been covered up over the years,” he said. “It will create far more open space, far more activity as well as space for public art and performances.”

James Corner, whose firm designed New York’s High Line and the Underline in Miami told commissioners earlier this month that opening up side streets and back alleys could turn Lincoln Road into a “Lincoln District,” with a wide range of options for consumers and business owners.

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Corner said a key element of his master plan would be to integrate cafes and restaurants into a space that was not originally designed for dining. The master plan calls for creating 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 businesses have expressed reservations about the plan and said their operations could be disrupted by construction. However Corner said construction would 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.

The city’s Community Redevelopment Agency has allocated $20 million for the pedestrian-only part of Lincoln Road, and $12 million in additional funding to redesign and reconstruct side streets and back alleys. About a year of further planning and design is expected before construction begins. Commissioners have pledged that no major construction will take place during the peak winter season.

Last week commissioners gave their approval to a measure that will allow Lincoln Road business and property owners to create a special assessment district, known as a Business Improvement District, or BID. Under the plan, area business and property owners will be able to create maintenance and management program for Lincoln Road lasting for up to 10 years, something Steve Gombinski said it will benefit both visitors and business owners.

“I think the better we can make Lincoln Road for our residents and for our visitors, the more it will enhance the businesses along Lincoln Road,” he said.