Overtown seeks developer for 90,000-square-foot property
By Samantha Joseph
Leaders of Miami's Overtown neighborhood are asking developers to bid on 90,000 square feet of land in a historic area where they envision a mixed-use complex.
The Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Development Agency is seeking proposals from developers and officials say they will favor those that include entertainment space, residential, retail and parking, according to planning administrator Chelsa Arscott.
The agency will give preferential treatment to developers who suggest residential projects priced to accommodate households of various income levels. Officials also say they will favor plans that include parking for the nearby historic Lyric Theater, residents, businesses and the International Longshoremen's Association.
Project proposals should take into account other plans to create an entertainment district in the village, community development agency officials said.
Developers should include budgets, detailed descriptions of their plans, renderings, along with background and financial information.
"Ideally, we would like to have a nice pedestrian and entertainment-oriented area on Second Avenue," Ms. Arscott said.
The property being eyed for development is bounded by Northwest Second Avenue to the west, Northwest Eighth Street to the south, Northwest First Avenue to the east and Northwest Ninth Street to the north. It is one block north of Miami Arena and east of Lyric Theater.
Nearly one block in size and now used as a parking lot, the property is across the street from a proposed development by Fort Lauderdale-based Crosswinds Community that would add 1,600 condominiums. Crosswinds plans its development on a 9-acre parcel along Northwest Eighth Street.
The agency owns about seven blocks of land in Overtown, including the plot offered this month for development.
Miami officials say congestion in the rest of county, which grows by about 30,000 residents annually, creates strong demand for real estate and has given Overtown unlikely appeal.
The historic neighborhood, once known as a hub of folk life, jazz and blues, is now among the most impoverished in the city.
More than half of all Overtown's 8,000 residents live in poverty, according to the Collins Center for Public Policy. Overtown's median household income is about $13,200 annually - less than half the county average.
The Collins Center, a think tank working to revive communities, says the area needs about 1,000 homes to end its housing shortage.
Ms. Arscott said a more focused development plan, revised this month, promotes smart growth and balances residential and commercial needs.
"There is no more land in the City of Miami to be developed," she said. "Every piece of land has been acquired or is in the permitting process. The land all along Biscayne Boulevard is going to be developed. The only place left is this land in Overtown."
Bidders have until July 17 to respond to the request for development proposals.
Details: (305) 679-6822