Updated 8 yearss ago
Big changes are coming to Miami's historic Overtown neighborhood, but local leaders are trying to make sure that gentrification doesn't overtake the neighborhood's current residents.
Located northwest of downtown Miami, Over town was a vibrant black community and cultural hub before construction of I-95 in the 1960s.
Last February saw the reopening of the neighborhood's historic Lyric Theater, which had hosted performances by the likes of musician Duke Ellington, poet Langston Hughes and singer Aretha Franklin, before falling into disrepair. A $10-million makeover of Gibson Park will soon be complemented by another $5 million in improvements, including a gymnasium and classrooms.
Two major developments are set to begin construction soon in the adjacent Parkwest area: All Aboard Florida's MiamiCentral railway station and the Miami Worldcenter mixed-use project.
Developers R. Donahue Peebles and Barron Channer are working on Overtown Gateway, a mixed-use block-size project next to the Lyric Theater. Next door, All Aboard Florida will build its Headquarters, as well as other offices and retail. Brazilian developer Rodolfo Ishak plans a 35-story condominium tower. Other business owners are renovating local landmarks such as Old Clyde Killen's Pool Hall and the historic Josephine and Dunn Hotel.
In August, the Southeast Overtown/Parkwest Community Redevelopment Agency closed on a $60-million loan to finance several major projects, including 402 new affordable housing units and 21,000 square feet of commercial space in four new mixed-use projects. Clarence E. Woods III, executive director of the CRA, acknowledges that even those affordable rents will likely be out of range of many current Overtown residents. "That's why we're going on an aggressive campaign to rehab existing housing stock," he says.
The loan will also finance the gutting and rehab of 263 units at the Town Park South and Town Park Village affordable housing projects, which will become co-ops, and the Town Park North condominiums. The new developments have land-use restrictions that mandate they remain affordable housing for 50 years. "There's always the fear of gentrification," Woods says. "But we believe we've found a way to kind of bridge redevelopment with not displacing current residents."
CORAL GABLES — The Lennar Foundation, the charitable arm of Lennar, gave $50 million to the University of Miami's Uhealth at Coral Gables ambulatory center. The Lennar Foundation Medical Center, as it will now be called, will be a 200,000-sq.-ft. outpatient center on the university's main campus. MasTec acquired Hollywood- based telecommunications services firm West Tower Communications from Exchange Income for $199 million.
ISLAMORADA — Miamibased Trust Hospitality completed renovations of the former Islamorada Resort, which reopened in December as Amara Cay Resort.
MARATHON — The city council approved developer Marathon Land Holdings' plan to build 17 townhomes, a clubhouse and pool on the site of the former Longhorn Lodge Resort.
MIAMI — The National Marine Manufacturers Association's Miami International Boat Show will move to Miami Marine Stadium in 2016. The city-owned property Has been unusable since 1992, but the group Friends of Miami Marine Stadium hopes to sink $30 million into renovating the stadium and sign a long-term lease with the city. > Digital banking technology company Technisys raised $13 million from a group of investors that includes Intel Capital, Alta Venture and Endeavor Catalyst. Online insurance marketplace HealthCare.Com closed a $7.5-million round of financing led by the chairman and former CEO of Priceline Group and its former vice chairman and CFO. > Burger King Worldwide's same-store restaurant sales in North America grew by 3.6% during the third quarter of 2014 — the chain's strongest growth in two years. However, BK posted a loss of $23.5 million, which the company says came in part because of the cost of its acquisition of Canadabased Tim Hortons. > A joint venture between real estate investment trust General Growth Properties and retail property company Ashkenazy Acquisition paid $280 million to acquire 20% of the Miami Design District mixed-use properties owned by Miami Design District Associates. The project is under redevelopment. MDDA is a partnership between Miami-based Dacra and private equity fund L Real Estate. Developer Melo Group paid $16 million to purchase a 1.6-acre property near the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts from Astra International. The site has a few apartment buildings and one retail building, as well as a significant amount of vacant land. > Miami Dade College plans to open the Miami Animation & Gaming International Complex, which will teach video-game development and animation. Armor Correctional Health Services of Miami won a five-year contract for nearly $22 million to provide medical care for inmates at the Osceola County jail.
MIAMI BEACH — Developer Crescent Heights plans to demolish several buildings on Alton Road, across from the Lincoln Road pedestrian mall in South Beach, and build a five-story parking and retail complex. The city has already approved the plans. > The non-profit ArtCenter South Florida sold its 17,642-sq.-ft. corner building on the Lincoln Road pedestrian mall for $88 million to a joint venture between TriStar Capital and RFR Holdings. > SB Hospitality paid $70 million to purchase the 108-room Dream South Beach hotel from New York-based TBS Realty.
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY — The County Commission agreed to give $13.5 million to the Miami Wilds theme park and hotel, which 20th Century Fox and partners are proposing to build on county-owned land next to Zoo Miami. 20th Century Fox has yet to submit a concrete proposal for the project and has requested another $116.5 million in public funding. > Hoffman Flagler paid $57.5 million to purchase a six-story former Florida Power & Light call center in the western part of the county. The 635,000-sq.- ft. Building and six-acre parking lot were sold by a company related to Hallandale Beach-based Château Group.
MONROE COUNTY/ FLORIDA KEYS — Voters extended by 10 years a half-cent tax to help finance construction and technology for the Monroe County School District.
SUNNY ISLES BEACH — Miami-based Fortune International Group and Hallandale-based Château Group paid $112.5 million to purchase the four-building La Playa de Varadero condo/ hotel complex from its individual unit owners. They plan to tear down the structures and build a condominium tower.
Legal Growth Spurt
The legal industry in Miami grew faster than in any other major U.S. market between September 2013 and September 2014.
22,500 New jobs created in the legal profession in Miami in one year
3. 7% Percentage growth in legal jobs over the one-year period
17% Office space occupied by law firms in downtown Miami/Brickell Source: JLL, U.S. Law Firm Perspective
The Related Group hired Lissette M. Calderon as president of its international and strategic projects division. A former Related Group project manager, she was CEO and owner of a condominium developer for many years before returning to the company.
Carnival Cruise Lines CEO Gerry Cahill retired on Nov. 30. A replacement has not been named.
Altegra Health hired Bob Drelick as its chief information officer. He had been CIO of Lovelace Health Plan in Albuquerque, N.M.
Drew Madsen, former president and COO of Orlando-based Darden Restaurants, was hired as president and COO of Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Lines.