BID partners with UM to conduct revitalization study

The Business Improvement District (BID) of Coral Gables is partnering with the University of Miami (UM) to set a definitive course to transform Downtown Coral Gables into a world-class destination.

The effort will be spearheaded by Dr. Charles C. Bohl, UM associate professor and director, Graduate Program in Real Estate Development and Urbanism. A blueribbon committee will review current conditions, regulatory issues and trending topics in a “Downtown Overlay Study” that will address specific elements magnifying the benefits of the Downtown Coral Gables Streetscape project.

The Downtown Overlay Study consists of:

• Walking tours, presentations and moderated discussions with nationally recognized experts focusing on key topics identified by the Steering Committee, and soliciting input from experts on updating the downtown overlay district.

• Identifying comparable main streets and historic downtowns with zoning and overlay districts, or elements from these that represent potential models to recommend to the City of Coral Gables for updating the downtown overlay district.

• A Stakeholder Forum that will solicit input from all stakeholders, residents and interested parties on potential updates to the downtown overlay district, incorporating ideas and proposals generated through the Steering Committee workshop and speakers series.

• Production of a final report.

The Streetscape improvements proposed for downtown Coral Gables will address the long-term physical deterioration and shortcomings of the streetscape along Miracle Mile, Giralda Avenue, and the paseos connecting the principle commercial streets to parking facilities.

“Now is the time to review and update the regulation of uses to ensure that both the mix of uses and the physical environment maintain the high quality and character that residents and visitors desire,” said Burton Hersh, president of the BID Board of Directors.

“As the physical condition of the buildings and streetscape change over time, so do the interests, tastes and consumer behavior of people,” said Dr. Charles C. Bohl.

The study will evaluate current trends in retail, dining, and arts and entertainment, with input from national industry experts. It also will make suggestions on codes in regulating both the physical environment and uses in keeping pace with a changing society and competing destinations.

“The challenge is to maintain regulations that nurture both a physical character and a mix of uses that reflect and define the community of Coral Gables,” said Mari Gallet, BID executive director.

Created in 1997, the BID’s mission is to promote commercial vitality to Miracle Mile and Downtown Coral Gables, and to act as a strategic catalyst for the overall improvement of the area.

Downtown Coral Gables and Miracle Mile is a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood infused with a chic European feel. Decorated with tree-lined streets and Mediterranean architecture, the historic area boasts some of Miami’s finest boutiques, acclaimed restaurants and lively cultural venues.

With more than 160 retailers and over 70 restaurants, Downtown Coral Gables and Miracle Mile is a sophisticated destination in which to shop, live, play and work.

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