In 2018, there are two Miamis.
One is the glitzy, international destination that is the favorite of real estate investors and art fans, home to models, musicians and billionaires. In sharp contrast, is the second Miami, sitting in the shadow of the $472 million Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, which is home to ballet, opera, and musicals. The arts center has produced more than $2 billion in economic impact, but you wouldn’t know it driving through the streets that form the arteries of the Miami Omni Community Redevelopment Agency district. Within a short walk of the arts center are dilapidated houses with concrete for promenades, empty lot after empty lot, and a patchwork of new condominiums and apartments that look like outposts rather than a connected neighborhood that is stable and sustainable.
Yet, this community, which includes Museum Park, the waterfront, Overtown North and parts of Wynwood, offers Miami a chance at redemption, a story of hope, a unique opportunity to lift up residents, isolated by highways and neglect, through both public and private investment. The mission of the Omni CRA by 2045 is to generate $100 million in affordable housing in collaboration with the private sector. Already, Omni CRA has launched rehab and repair projects to upgrade homes and improve the lives of families and individuals in the district.
On November 15, my fellow commissioners and I will consider approval of an ordinance I sponsored that would prime the pump for the development of thousands of affordable units. If approved, the ordinance would offer property owners more developable square footage in exchange for including affordable units in future projects. The Omni CRA’s approach is comprehensive, tackling the challenges of neighborhood sustainability by making housing affordable, investing in infrastructure to better connect residents and fostering business growth, which generates jobs and services for locals. The last piece of the puzzle involves investing in historic properties like the Woman’s Club of Miami and the Dorsey Memorial Library, which was one of the few educational resources for African Americans during segregation.
All of this speaks to our dedication to improving the quality of life across the district, particularly in areas under great economic distress. My philosophy is that each neighborhood must rise for the whole to be stronger. Every day I have been privileged to serve as Commissioner of District 2 and as Chair of the Miami Omni CRA, I have been driven by the idea that improving everyone’s quality of life is essential for Miami to become a better city.
Chair, Omni CRA
Commissioner, District 2