21: Could controversial development revive the
CBS 4 (Miami, FL)
They call it Miami 21. It's a plan to give the
downtown area an urban renewal and it is up for
a vote by Miami commissioners Thursday.
In an automobile-fixated town, Miami 21 seeks to
change zoning codes to promote green space and
pedestrian friendly development. That effort is
already evident on a stretch of Biscayne
Boulevard just north of downtown office towers.
Outdoor lunch crowds—many of them people who
live nearby—sit at the open air tables watching
the world and other people go by.
Francesca Vassallo said, "It is becoming, I
guess, friendly for people to walk around."
That is precisely what downtown planners want.
Javier Betancourt is with the Downtown
Development Authority. He said, "We want people
to walk on sidewalks. We want people to sit at
local parks and enjoy the view with fellow human
beings. We want to activate the streets,
particularly in the greater downtown area."
Some neighborhood activists will argue the
effort does not go far enough, while
others—developers among them—worry it goes too
far. Whether the often contentious tug of war
between pro and anti-development forces at city
hall can find a middle ground is uncertain.
Adam Meltzer doesn't share the doubts. He's the
owner of "The Daily" restaurant on Biscayne
Boulevard. Three years ago his friends told him
he was crazy to open twenty blocks north of
downtown. They don't' say that anymore.
Meltzer says, "I'm an ex-New Yorker and part of
the vibe is to establish a little bit (in
downtown Miami) of that New York neighborhood
This week he will find out if city leaders share