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JUNE 30, 2014
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THE DDA DOES IT ONE MORE TIME

The management theory that seems to guide the thinking at the DDA when it comes to urban design is that if at first you don’t succeed, then do it again, and the next time spend more money and make it look even tackier.


Ten years ago the DDA and the City of Miami renovated Flagler Street.  This is how Javier Betancourt, the Assistant Executive Director of the DDA describes that experience:


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10 8 YEARS AGO THE DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY AND THE CITY OF MIAMI SPENT $10 MILLION DOLLARS TO RENOVATE FLAGLER STREET. NOW THEY’RE BACK WANTING TO SPEND $13 MILLION TO MAKE IT LOOK LIKE A STREET IN A RAILROAD THEME PARK

“The last time Flagler Street in downtown Miami was renovated it was poorly designed, poorly implemented and poorly maintained.”

So, on the basis of doing a shit job last time, including the failure of taking care of their handiwork, these morons are back with a $13 million dollar plan to turn Flagler Street into a tacky looking version of a main street Railroad theme park to compliment the new All Aboard Train Station that is going to be built several blocks away.


That would all be nice if the All Aboard folks also were thinking in terms of having their station look like a tacky version on a old-time monochrome railroad station, but they are not. Here are renderings of the station recently posted on the blog exMIAMI.

So, while the vision of the All Aboard folks is of a large, airy and modern looking train station, the DDA and their “partners” came up with a monochrome, tacky looking street design that even includes installing railroad crossing barriers, and I was told, real railroad tracks along the edge of the street.

Even the sidewalks will be made to look like railroad tracks.

On Tuesday, the Miami-Dade County Commission is going to be asked to spend $6 million of County bond money on this bullshit.


What used to be downtown Miami - and especially Flagler Street - is under assault on the South by the Brickell City Center that will include a 625,000 square foot shopping center, 128,580 square feet of Class A Office space, and over 1000 condos, hotel rooms and apartments.


From the North it is under assault by the Miami World Center that will include a 765,000 square foot shopping center that will have a Macy’s and Bloomingdales, and also a 1800 room Hotel and Convention Center as well as3095 condos and rental apartments.  Will this new Macy’s mean the end of the Macy’s on the corner of Flagler and Miami Avenue, and the anchor store for Flagler Street shopping?


Both of these projects as well as the development of lots 45 and 56 on NW 2nd Avenue and 6th Street at the edge of Overtown, along with the redevelopment of the Design District that will include high-end retail establishments all point to less reason for people - even cruise ship passengers - to spend any time on Flagler Street.


Rather than protecting and making Flagler Street the center of any redevelopment of the downtown area, the DDA, in addition to not taking care of the Flagler Street that they spent $10 million on in the previous renovation, chose to support all of these other projects at the expense of Flagler Street and the core downtown.


Let no one forget that Nitin Motwani, the Managing Principal of the Miami World Center got a Conflict of Interest waiver from the City Commission, strongly supported by Commissioner and DDA Chairman Sarnoff to sit on the DDA Board where he and his project received invaluable support and assistance from DDA staff, and now, in what Javier Betancourt claims “is really our last chance” so as to “bring more people to the area and act as a catalyst to attract more private dollars and redevelopment,” they want to turn the street into a tacky and eventually ugly - ugly because given their track record the odds are that the DDA will soon tire of trying to keep up with the maintenance - version of a railroad themed street that will do absolutely nothing to support the claim that Miami is a sophisticated, world-class, 21st Century city.


Just how long do you think it will take the Flagler Street business owners to get tired of the street looking like a tacky railroad themed street, and demand that more millions be spent to come up with yet another design?


If this passes the County Commission on Tuesday and actually gets built the next thing you might expect from the DDA is to dress up their street cleaners to look like railroad linemen, and have them stand out in the street with lanterns to take the place of red lights.


It’s Miami, Bitches!


IF YOU AGREE WITH ME THAT THIS IS A DUMB IDEA, HERE’S THE LINK TO THE LIST OF THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS. FIND YOUR’S AND TELL THEM WHAT YOU THINK.


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS