The long discussed, once begun but never finished makeover of Flagler Street in downtown Miami will get going again after city commissioners unanimously approved the plan for a $24.4 million beautification plan.
Work is expected to soon begin on the makeover of Flagler from Biscayne Boulevard to Northwest First Avenue. The plan, drawn up by Zyscovich Architects and paid for by landowner Moishe Mana, has the backing of a coalition of local merchants and the development authority. Thursday’s approval allows the chosen contractor, Lanzo Construction, to begin work.
The need for revamping Flagler Street has been discussed since 2011. In 2016, construction began with another contractor, FH Paschen, but it fell months behind schedule, eroding property owners’ confidence. In April 2017, the city fired the company.
Several business owners spoke in support of the elaborate plan to build a curbless road that can be closed for street festivals and covered in pavers instead of asphalt — a popular vision that Mana commissioned and has broad support in the district. The design is meant to be appealing to pedestrians, a point emphasized by business owners who believe the streetscape will attract new merchants and customers in a growing downtown neighborhood.
“The street could be closed and we could manage it so it can be a traditional downtown street, and when we have events, we can close it to cars,” said Terrell Fritz, executive director of the Flagler District Business Improvement District.
The project includes wide sidewalks with planters and improved lighting, and much-needed infrastructure upgrades such as improved drainage.