A massive 104-page study of Miami-Dade’s “West End” commissioned by District 11 Commissioner Juan C. Zapata and prepared by the Florida International University College of Architecture is available online.
“The study assists us in evolving into the suburbs of the future through recommendations which leverage the existing and future potential of our ‘West End,’” Zapata told the Gazette after the report’s release.
Initial notice of its availability was given in a special May 5 online letter to a District Office contact list, headed “Dear Neighbor” and describing a “new comprehensive community development study of the West End providing a blueprint to guide the community’s future growth.”
Titled the “West End Strategy: A Vision for the Future,” the report, through multiple diagrams and charts, provides statistical data, analyzing how the area’s economic and physical assets may be best utilized for future growth.
“Made possible with the generous support” of contributors, 16 are listed in an acknowledgements section naming individuals, association and corporate participants, including several prominent building firms.
The full report can be downloaded, but a 40-page “Executive Summary” condensing the contents is not yet available online, according to Daniel Chatlos, Policy and Business Relations aide for Zapata.
The study was initiated by Zapata in the fall of 2013 with FIU president Mark Rosenberg “to develop a set of strategies for the future of the West End,” a term Zapata uses to define an unincorporated West Kendall area west of SW 137th Avenue
Fifteen “Action Items” in six areas emphasize redeveloping underused properties, including a separate section focused on promoting employment and developing “small business incubators,” due to what the document terms a “mismatch between the West End’s high number of resident employees (105,000) and a low number of jobs within the district, resulting in 78 percent of its residents leaving the area for work each day.
Other proposals within the document include some eye-openers:
• Initiating new “West End” trolley routes on two major roadways combined with CSX railway utilization to connect high density areas with major institutions and employment centers.
• A pilot program is suggested to help small business development and re-zoning areas along major corridors (SW 88th Street, 137th and 157th avenues) to promote higher mixed use development.
• Rezoning and re-planning The Palms at Town & Country Plaza and the Kendall Town Center (SW 88th Street at 157th Avenue) to incorporate new residential, retail, employment and entertainment centers.
Under a 2015 copyright, the report was published as part of the research conducted by FIU by a Design for a Community Engagement grant, noting that 14 FIU graduates worked as research assistants in multiple departments to compile its data with assistance from Miami-Dade County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), Parks and Recreation, and Zoning and Planning departments.
Acknowledged as contributing to the report: Downrite Engineering Corp. (Lennar), Friends of Higher Education, Gazitua Letelier PA, Adolfo and Elizabeth Henriques,Howard Hughes Corporation, Latin Builders Association, Lennar Homes, Limonar Development Inc., Yara Lorenzo, Eston E. Melton III, Miami Municipal Strategies LLC, Munilla Family Foundation, Neighborhood Planning Company LLC, Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade, West Flagler Associates LTD, Wonderly Holding Inc., and Zapata. Special thanks is noted to Priscilla Pagan for design and layout contributions of report documents.
Web address for the full report: http://carta.fiu.edu/wpcontent/uploads/architecture/WestEndDistrict11_FullReport1.pdf.