The Miami Design District and the Buena Vista East Historic District

In this evaluation I included the Design District and Buena Vista East Historic District. This includes the area between I-195 to 48th Street and Miami Avenue to the railroad tracks.

In the 1890s, Buena Vista was a small village with many pineapple farms whose founding and growth paralleled Miami’s. During the Land Boom of the 1920s, the area was developed. Like most inner -city Miami the area fell into hard times during the 70s & 80s. Formally the Miami Design was a subdistrict for furniture and interior designers to showcase their work and was mostly a warehouse area. Miami native Craig Robins recognized the potential of the Miami Design District, and started acquiring buildings. His goal was to transform a forgotten part of Miami into a unique creative community through exceptional architecture, design and experiences.  Redevelopment began in the early 2000s. Throughout the 2000s, major public and private investments went into the Design District and by the 2010s high-end brands moved in. The district is now also home to many high end restaurants, cafes. bars, night clubs, the Institute of Contemporary Art and many art galleries. Its amazing how quickly this transformation was realized and achieved such a quality sense of place,

The Buena Vista East Historic District north to 48th street has benefited from the Design District’s revitalization with homes now selling btwn 500K-1M. Urban form has also improved along 2nd Ave. Sadly Miami Ave is still a very auto centric and a desolate Avenue. The main lack here is affordable housing. Even before the pandemic, rentals were severely limited but post pandemic single family home prices jumped 50-75% and now homes start at 500K. There is also a lack of recreational space, density needs to be improved (aka allowing residential within the design district), and some crucial neighborhood amenities are missing.

Click here to view my Flickr album on the Miami Design District

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Overall very good ADA infrastructure, except for several blocks on the east edge that don’t have sidewalks.
* Great access to dwtn, good connectivity, and solid public transit access.
* A pair of north-south dedicated bike lanes but only one dedicated bike station.
* Great economic and racial diversity. Also solid generational diversity here with a high pct of family households.
* Decent schools amenities include a couple well rates high schools and elementary schools.
* Strong dense of place in the Design District. So  in the Buena Vista Historic District.
* Good historic architecture in the Buena Vista East Historic District. Even better modern in-fill especially in the Design District.
* Great urban form within the Design District (esp. with all the pedestrian walkways), decent urban form along 2nd Ave, poor urban form along Miami Ave.
* Cultural amenities include lots of restaurants, bars, & cafes, plenty of art galleries and art museums (including the Institute of Contemporary Art), a handful of night clubs, and a community theater.
* Tons of clothing and home good retail options in the Design District but very high end. More down to earther retail include plenty of dessert joints & bakeries, several gyms, a bookstore, a publixs, a couple drug stores,  local hospital, and still walkable access to the shops at Midtown Miami.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Density is so so.
* Some nice plazas and pedestrians streets in the Design District but not much else parkwide here.
* No community library or post office. Limited # of churches and banks.
* For sale housing is expensive and limited 2-bedrooms (sell btwn 500K-900K. No 1 bed condos available. 3 & 4 beds sell anywhere btwn 500K to the low 1Ms. Princes appear to have increase 50%-75% from pre-pandemic to post.
* Rentals (except whole house rentals) appear to have been zoned out of existence here. Only whose homes seem to rent and they are very expensive.

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