By Robyn A. Friedman | October 24, 2017 | Home & Real Estate
Long a pop-in, pop-out area for workers and corporate types, Flagler Street and Downtown are about to get a jolt of culture, dining, residences and a whole new vibe.
Get a full glimpse of the city from the upper tier at Aston Martin Residences.
Take a stroll down Flagler Street in Miami’s central business district and you’ll encounter a slice of old Miami. The city’s historic “main street” abounds with mom-and-pop retailers selling everything from discount electronics and jewelry to bongs, handbags, beauty supplies and souvenirs. Scattered among them: shuttered stores, a sign that things are about to change.
Many see potential in this section of Miami’s downtown. Whether it’s local government, which is investing $13 million to beautify Flagler Street and make it more pedestrian-friendly, or people like Moishe Mana, who has invested more than $250 million to scoop up real estate in the area, there’s a shared vision that Flagler Street can become a bustling promenade, with fashionable boutiques, crowded bars and cafés serving trendy dishes at sidewalk tables.
Mana, a serial entrepreneur and real estate developer spearheading the Americas-Asia Trade Center project in Wynwood, has been assembling parcels in the Flagler area since 2010 with an eye toward future redevelopment. “It can be a great neighborhood,” he says. “The location is good—it’s the kind of place where I can make a difference.”
E11EVEN Miami’s rooftop is the poshest spot to mix and mingle.
Indeed, Flagler is seen by many as a strategic location. Long neglected and with property values that are attractive to investors, the street is close to the Miami- Dade County government center and the soon-to-be-completed Brightline train station. MiamiCentral, an 11-acre, transit-oriented project under development by Florida East Coast Industries, will ultimately include 300,000 square feet of office space, 816 apartments and 180,000 square feet of retail and dining, including Monger, a new signature restaurant by Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, Rosetta Bakery, Starbucks, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Parliament Espresso and Coffee Bar and more.
Gary Ressler, principal of the Tilia Family of Companies, who owns the historic Alfred I. duPont Building on Flagler Street, says he has embarked on a long-term program to transform the structure and make it competitive in today’s market. He has restored every floor, replaced the roofs and HVAC system, updated the elevators and is currently renovating all of the exterior storefronts along Flagler Street and Southeast Second Avenue. He says he’s spent “more than any reasonable owner would ever consider” to modernize the building, which he considers to be “the jewel in our crown.”
Ultimately, Ressler will add new tenants. “We’ve been working very hard to curate a tenant mix focused on a café district,” he says. New occupants coming: cocktail lounge Over Under, another as-yet undisclosed bar on the Flagler Street side, Sushi Americana and additional food and entertainment options that Ressler says “will promote the growth of community within the central business district.”
These new restaurants, cafés and bars will join existing lifestyle businesses in the downtown area, such as E11EVEN Miami and Club Space. And, of course, area residents and visitors alike flock to downtown to attend Miami Heat games and concerts at the AmericanAirlines Arena, performances at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, and the Pérez Art Museum Miami and newly opened Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science.
Locals are happy with the improvements downtown. “They’re putting a lot of effort into revitalizing this area,” says Allison Newbauer Strongin, the vice president of Kirk Jewelers, located at 142 E. Flagler St. and a longtime anchor of the neighborhood. “There’s so much going on downtown as a whole, and Flagler Street just needed a little bit of a facelift. We’re hoping it brings business people here by day to shop and residents to come at night for the restaurants.”
The business people have arrived, drawn in particular to the Brickell neighborhood, a financial center. Residents are moving in as well, taking occupancy in new condominiums— and more residents are on the horizon. One Thousand Museum, a 62-story luxury tower under construction at 1000 Biscayne Blvd. and overlooking Museum Park and Biscayne Bay, was designed by Pritzker Prize Awardwinning Zaha Hadid Architects and features 83 three- to six-bedroom residences. Completion of the building, which boasts the city’s only private rooftop helipad, is slated for late 2018. Pricing of available units ranges from $5.8 million to $49 million.
The lavish bathroom at One Thousand Museum.
Aston Martin Residences, a 66-story luxury condominium at 300 Biscayne Blvd., features 391 units with panoramic views and interiors that incorporate Aston Martin’s fine craftsmanship and distinctive design. Units, which range from 700 to 19,000 square feet, are priced from $600,000 to more than $50 million. Completion is expected in 2021.
When Mana unveils his redevelopment plan for Flagler Street, most expect that it will create a live/work/ play environment, with retail and office and residential space. Mana says he plans a neighborhood “designed for the needs of young people,” with local retailers—not chain stores—and businesses that will attract residents and visitors downtown and help build community.
But while Flagler may ultimately be part of a renaissance of nightlife, arts, culture, food and living in Miami’s downtown, it still will maintain a very “workplace atmosphere” for corporate environments, “not [turn into] the next Lincoln Road,” says real estate consultant Anthony M. Graziano. Though he adds, “Flagler can absolutely become a very walkable, very vibrant mixed-use neighborhood.”
PHOTO COURTESY OF ASTON MARTIN RESIDENCES