Foot traffic: Rethinking South Beach's Lincoln Road
A $32-million makeover is in the works for Lincoln Road.
The Morris Lapidusdesigned Lincoln Road pedestrian mall is among Florida’s top retail destinations, with tenants that include Apple, H&M and dozens of restaurants. Rents average $300 per square foot. But Lincoln Road was never designed to handle the 6 million people who visit it annually. It wasn’t even designed with restaurants and outdoor seating in mind.
Keeping the iconic road in shape requires constant attention. Its hand-painted pavers can’t be kept from peeling, many drainage gates are broken, some light fixtures don’t work and not all of the plantings are lush. The city of Miami Beach hired landscape architects James Corner Field Operations, which designed New York’s High Line park, to come up with a plan.
Among the firm’s proposals: Lower-maintenance materials (such as tinted concrete), new spaces for outdoor cultural displays and performances, streetscape improvements, better signage and new street furnishings. Seating for outdoor dining would be moved to clear the sidewalk so people can get closer to store windows and more easily window-shop.
“The vision for that part is to really upgrade it physically to make it more beautiful, to showcase its historical structures,” says Isabel Castilla, a senior associate with James Corner and design project manager for the Lincoln Road master plan.
The company’s recommendations include moving trash collection and deliveries to off-hours and adding trees, bike lanes and wider sidewalks with tables on the streets where garbage pickup and deliveries now take place.
Lincoln Road’s restaurateurs and retailers like the ideas but worry that construction will disrupt their business.
Miami Beach’s historic preservation board still needs to approve the plan. If approved, the detailed design phase of the revamp should take about a year.
Funds for the work will come from Miami Beach’s Redevelopment Agency, which has allocated $32 million for the work.
AVENTURA — Boatsharing company Boatsetter is merging with San Francisco-based competitor Cruzin. The merged company will be called Boatsetter, with joint headquarters and more than 3,000 boats and 1,200 captains available for rent.
CORAL GABLES — The city commission approved an $18.8-million plan to renovate the streetscapes of Miracle Mile and nearby Giralda Avenue. The design will include wider sidewalks, public art, covered centralized valet stations, better stormwater drainage and open plaza areas. Work should start early next year and take about 1½ years.
MIAMI — After waiting for more than two years for approval from the Federal Reserve, Chilean-based Banco de Crédito e Inversiones closed its deal to acquire City National Bank of Florida. The deal is the largest acquisition of a U.S. bank by a Chilean company. > A subsidiary of Espírito Santo International sold the 36-story Espirito Santo Plaza office building in the city’s Brickell district for $142 million to Dallas-based Gaedeke Group. The on-site Conrad Miami hotel was not part of the deal, and is listed for sale separately.
California-based internet domain registry firm Minds + Machines began selling website domains ending in .miami. The city of Miami will receive 50% of the money that Minds + Machines makes selling the .miami web addresses. > Startups Biscayne Pharmaceuticals and Insero Health merged, creating a firm that is developing therapies for drug-resistant cancer, epilepsy, pain and other nervous system disorders. Health care investor Samuel Reich co-founded both companies, which were already sharing office space. > New Yorkbased Thor Equities paid $41.5 million to purchase just under a block of property in the city’s Wynwood Arts District from Lehman Family Partnership, a pipe and plumbing company in Wynwood. The property has 100,000 square feet of land with five buildings totaling 45,000 square feet, but has more than 600,000 square feet of development rights. Thor now controls an entire square block of Wynwood.
MIAMI BEACH — Partners Jonathan Fryd and Michael Comras (of Comras Company of Florida) sold a 1.1- acre block on the Lincoln Road pedestrian mall for $370 million to a private family office they did not name. The property includes retail stores Gap, Apple and Nike. > In the largest condo sale ever in south Florida, an unidentified buyer paid $60 million for the eight-bedroom, 12,516-sq.-ft. penthouse of the recently finished Faena Tower; the condo includes 9,900 square feet of outdoor space. > After acquiring nearly all of the units in the Atlantic Princess Condominium, Londonbased Generator Hostels plans to dissolve the condo and convert the property into a high-end hostel.
MIAMI-DADE — Singer Marc Anthony is launching a Latinfocused entertainment company, Magnus Media, in partnership with agent Michel Vega; the company includes artist management, music publishing, a music label and film and tv production.
NORTH MIAMI BEACH — A group of Argentine investors plans to build a mixed-use development, including a 30-story apartment building, retail and restaurants, in the city’s community redevelopment area; the group paid $2.15 million for the land.
SOUTH MIAMI — Rockville, Md.-based Federal Realty Investment Trust, Miami-based Grass River Property and Miami Beach-based Comras Company of Florida purchased the Shops at Sunset Place in a deal that values the 10-acre property retail, office and parking garage development at $110.2 million.
Commercial real estate brokerage CBRE Group promoted Mary Jo Eaton to president of its Florida and Latin American operations. She had been executive managing director for CBRE in Florida.
NBCUniversal promoted Cesar Conde to chairman of NBCUniversal International Group and NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises — a newly created position. Conde had been an executive vice president at NBCUniversal.
AlphaNet hired Martha A. Sanchez as its COO; she is the founder of business consulting and coaching firm MAS Universal and through 2012 was the CEO of Miami-Dade Area Health Education Center.
As founder of the non-profit Adopt-A-Classroom, Jamie Rosenberg coordinated the distribution of more than $25 million to teachers for classroom use. He developed a digital system to give away the money and track its use.
Fascinated by the ways that system could be scaled and put to use for other organizations, Rosenberg founded ClassWallet, a for-profit company that now sells the technology platform. ClassWallet updated and expanded the core technology, but it remains a platform for managing incoming donations and disbursements.
ClassWallet reconciles the spending and donation, reporting to the funder how the money was spent and giving an administrator full oversight of all incoming and outgoing funds.
In July, ClassWallet raised $1.9 million in seed funding.