MIRACLE MILE REDEVELOPMENT (Coral Gables): The Mayor’s Vs. the Vice Mayor’s Vision

Our residents have a plethora of options including Merrick Park, Brickell City Center, the Design District, Aventura and others, not to mention on-line shopping on Amazon. Miracle Mile is on a downward spiral. Just recently I drove the four- block stretch and was shocked to count 40 empty storefronts. Our leadership is required to ensure that this spiral doesn’t become permanent. Miracle Mile needs to be revitalized.

I believe that the best way to bring this four-block stretch back to life is by bringing back foot traffic to enjoy amenities. While we work with the Business Improvement District (BID) on projects such as Murals on the Mile that we hope will help bring foot traffic, it is by having multi-use development including residences that will ultimately revitalize Miracle Mile. We need to attract residents to the Mile; not only to patronize our shops and restaurants but to live in our city center as well.

Let’s bring Miracle Mile back to life | Miami’s Community News

A few comments are due here:

  • The Vice Mayor has questioned whether the code change will affect the future of Miracle Mile and its small town look and ambience.
  • The Mayor recently drove along Miracle Mile to count the empty store fronts. There have been empty store fronts for a long time because of two factors: COVID-19 and associated unemployment recession; and the long time construction of the so-called Streetscape. Prior to that we can list the housing recession of 2006-2009.
  • A “Midtown Model”: The redevelopment of Miracle Mile with the construction of multi-story hotels and residences of up to many (say 10) floors would indeed repopulate Miracle Mile, but it would lead to many fewer store fronts and wider buildings, leading potentially to the introduction of national and international store chains in the form of min-box stores a la Midtown. This would be the end of the idea of Coral Gables as a “small town.”
  • Business culture: Miracle Mile balances toward medium to small businesses and independent operators and entrepreneurs. The eventual accelerated development might lead to homogenized min-big box stores and tramsient chains of a lesser quality.
  • Building residences: Merrick Park area residences are not leading to actual new store front models or large increases in shopping traffic. The Merrick Park shopping center area has serious financial problems now and any expansion of Miracle Mile will surely hit against Merrick Park shopping and financing.
  • More causes of Miracle Mile decline: The City of Coral Gables has added to the woes of Miracle Mile by promoting Merrick Park shopping and many multi-story apartment buildings. Also, the addition of large development along Dixie Highway near Merrick Park and near the University of Miami will expand an already big traffic problem there attract away business from Miracle Mile. It is understood that rezoning would complement and continue the strong redevelopment and tall buildings along Dixie Highway between Red Road and Douglas Road. This already is hitting and degrading residential areas. Let the traffic be damned!
  • The City of Coral Gables has been preparing and revising its zoning code, one of the famously most tough, complicated codes in South Florida requiring a small army of bureaucrats to enforce.
  • Shifting shopping areas: Only the City of Coral Gables can be blamed for the decline of Miracle Mile. It has expanded large-scale construction away from the Mile in Merrick Park. The Streetscape project has killed off good street parking and the long construction period caused stores to lose money and fail.
  • Transportation and parking: The local transportation hub and busses run away from the center of Miracle Mile toward Dixie Highway along Ponce de Leon. This has been no help to Miracle Mile.
  • Participation: The Mayor asserts in this article that the community has had more than enough time to review the proposed revisions that have been under review for four years. Let it me known that the average interested resident doesn’t know anything about the code changes and only development companies, professionals and owners who understand and have a commercial interest in the complex implications of the code have followed the proposed changes.

FINAL COMMENTS: The “free market” will not resurrect Miracle Mile. Just as the city and its residents were prepared to spend on the Streetscape, the city should be ready to look for financing to shape a significant development plan that keeps the idea of a more scaled down city, small business and a place to bring residents and visitors to participate in excellent culture, dining, shopping and community interaction. These various elements will have to subsidized for them to work. Otherwise, we will be faced with more uncontrolled large-scale development, which is the pattern in Coral Gables in recent years.

City of Coral Gables: Important Meeting on the Zoning Code

Image

MESSAGE FROM THE VICE MAYOR VINCE LAGO:

IMPORTANT – On Nov 30th beginning at 5 pm there will be a virtual Sunshine Meeting to discuss important zoning code changes that include: Miracle Mile, Crafts Section & MF2 FAR portions of the Zoning Code. Your feedback is highly important and I look forward to seeing you there!

DEAR COMMISSIONERS: City of Coral Gables

The city authorities have continued to work on local urgent issues. Some of these subjects may be less than urgent.

It is urgent that you create awareness of the renewed acceleration of the COVID pandemic in Florida, which will soon affect Coral Gables, Miami-Dade County and adjacent areas.

Wouldn’t it be time to reach out to our community and urgently raise awareness of the new impact, the new increase in COVID infections and deaths.

Better to respond early than drag our feet or ignore the problem like our state authorities are doing.

Good luck.

Another Lofty Visitor This Week

The wildlife love the canal area adjacent to Doctors Hospital because of the dense green vegetation and buffer.

Coral Gables–Future of Miracle Mile

The rewrite of the zoning code might allow for an increase the scale of the unique area through the height of the building and a thereby a change in the nature of the activities there. Miracle Mile is long known throughout the country and quite recently the city, resident and commerce have financed a upgrade in the streets, side walks and parking at considerable cost to the community.

I attach information from a recent newsletter on the rezoning code.

Vice Mayor Vince Lago’s November 2020 Newsletter Zoning Code Rewrite:

Making Changes While Preserving Our History

As we consider proposals to make changes to the Coral Gables Zoning Code, it is important to strategically plan for the long-term development of the downtown area, especially Miracle Mile.

What makes the City of Coral Gables special is its small-town feel and charming streets like Miracle Mile. Although it is important to incorporate thoughtful planning measures to ensure economic longevity, I do not believe that we should compromise the controlled height that makes Miracle Mile so iconic.

Source: Newsletter Vice Mayor Lago.

The City Commission will organize open meeting about the subject of the zoning code changes, and it was been requested that a internet meeting be held to allow participation of the Coral Gable community.

Please check the City of Coral Gables agenda items.

247,000 deaths; 11,000,000 COVID infections

Beautiful Visitor to Our Neighborhood

Enjoying this beautiful visitor to our neighborhood in this time of COVID staying at home.

This is a view of essential micro-environments for wildlife near the Doctors Hospital valet parking lot here in Coral Gables, FL.