A Miami Beach neighborhood renewal plan for the corridor of Lincoln Road aims to revive the Fisher-Lapidus dream of connecting the city’s two great garden ways that are in less-than-optimal conditions.
The plan, sponsored by Commissioner Alex Fernandez, would revitalize the 200 and 300 blocks of Lincoln Road, with vehicle closures for pedestrianization, and limit vehicular access on the 100 block.
Representatives of the Ritz-Carlton South Beach Hotel, located at 1 Lincoln Road, are seeking an agreement with the city for the closure of the 200 through 300 blocks of Lincoln Road to automobile traffic and a re-design of the 100 block. The Ritz-Carlton team hired planning and design engineering consultants Kimley-Horn for the revitalization plan of the 200-300 block, and landscape architect Raymond Jungles for the 100 block of Lincoln Road, said Michael W. Larkin from Bercow Radell Fernandez Larkin & Tapanes, who represented the Ritz-Carlton team.
Mr. Jungles has designed much of South Beach, including the Miami Beach Botanical Garden’s landscape, the Sky Garden at the rooftop of 1111 Lincoln Road, and landscape at the Soho Beach House.
“Our request is two-fold,” said Mr. Larkin. The request is for the city commission to instruct the administration to enter into negotiations with the Ritz-Carlton. “It’ll be three phases. We are responsible for paying all the soft cost for all the designs. The city will pay the hard cost, the actual construction cost, and then we will come in and manage the construction.”
The city employed same model of operation with the closure of the 1100 block of Lincoln Road from Lennox Drive to Alton Road.
“The 200 and 300 blocks have been a drag on the property values of the whole neighborhood, which radiate out into all directions, including our 100 block of the Ritz-Carlton,” said Peter Kanavos, partner at Flag Luxury Group, which manages the Ritz-Carlton. “Many of [our guests] tell us that in order to access Lincoln Road – which is clearly one of the most well-known amenities of Miami Beach – they Uber around to the middle of the block, circumventing the 200 and 300 blocks.”
Once people see the physical manifestations of renewal, transforming the streetscape, cleaning up crime, and raising the bar for property owners and operators to cash in on the new environment, it will result in enhanced revenue for the city, he said. “That’s the nature of our economic system – investment attracts investment.”
Having “half a dozen police cars parked in front of the Ritz-Carlton every day” is bad optics for customers staying at the hotels and for visitors walking through the area, he added. “It signals combat. I think one of the overall benefits that the city would have by revitalizing this area is the imagine it will convey to the world.”
The plan showed “insignificant diversion of automobile traffic,” according to the studies, Mr. Larkin said. “We are working to relocate the bus routes, we haven’t met yet with Miami-Dade Transit, but we’re working with Commissioner [Alex] Fernandez.”
Washington and Collins avenues would remain open with two lanes in each direction. All the other streets crossing Lincoln would keep one lane in each direction, according to the plan.
The dream is to complete the vision of Morris Lapidus, architect known to start the Miami Modern neo-baroque style, and entrepreneur Carl G. Fisher, both responsible for much of Miami Beach growth, architecture and style, said Commissioner Fernandez. “[My dream] is to continue the garden on Lincoln Road, to get people out of cars, and to activate those sidewalks with businesses.”