Miami moves closer to Grove master plan
By Samantha Joseph
Miami city officials are one step closer to creating a master plan for Coconut Grove's waterfront and the spoil islands that dot the coast.
Miami officials hope to have next month a list of three consultants they think can create a pedestrian-friendly zone and coastal parks they have long been envisioned for the area.
The city wants to find landscape architects, planners and others to redevelop more than 38 acres of waterfront property near South Bayshore Drive.
The land is next to Biscayne Bay and the spoil islands, between Peacock Park and Dinner Key Marina. It includes state- and city-owned land at the islands off Dinner Key that is controlled by Miami's Parks and Recreation Department.
The area now is a disjointed mix of condominiums, marinas, small businesses and Miami's historic City Hall, the former Pan American seaplane base and terminal.
Once redevelopment is complete, public administrators hope for a vibrant waterfront with heavy pedestrian traffic and a strong focus on recreational and environmentally focused activities.
Interconnected walkways, open space and parks would mark the new face of the waterfront and the largely neglected spoil islands.
"It's quite an extensive project," said Glenn Marcos, director of the city's purchasing department.
Six companies have responded to a request for qualifications - Sasaki Associates Inc., EDSA, Kimley-Horn & Associates Inc., Bermello-Ajamil & Partners Inc., Wallace Roberts & Todd and EDAW Inc.
Miami's senior procurement officer, Pamela Burns, said the city's qualification committee will narrow the list next month to three.
Masterminding a waterfront redevelopment is no small job.
At least that's how it seems from the hefty document outlining the job of consultant who will guide the city's facelift of Miami's Coconut Grove waterfront and spoil islands.
The long-planned redevelopment is to be an involved process. It will include extensive research to incorporate economic, cultural, historical and environmental issues to improve the waterfront and create a coastal park on the spoil islands.
In the end, public officials hope to encourage wider public use of the area that is home to Miami's City Hall and the Coconut Grove Convention Center.
Officials launched their search for a consultant in May and plan to narrow a group of six bidders to three next month.
The consulting group would have to survey the area that includes property from the south of South Bayshore Drive, next to Biscayne Bay and the spoil islands between Peacock Park and Dinner Key Marina.
It will be required to provide drawings and photographs of all vegetation, utilities, barriers and other features and address all security, health and safety issues, including possible contamination of the area.
The group must also study traffic flow and make recommendations to prevent congestion once redevelopment is complete.
It would also need to study the area's history, culture, architecture and natural environment and formulate plans to preserve and enhance those elements.
"They're going to be doing a lot of identifying, that's for sure," said Glenn Marcos, who heads the city's purchasing department. "It's all part of the research."
The city also asks that the consultant consider the area's economic drivers and suggest new money-making developments such as restaurants and tourist attractions.
"And that's actually just Task 1," Mr. Marcos said.
Ultimately, the goal is to create a master plan that provides urban design regulations that specify public access to and along the waterfront, creates building codes that allow waterfront views from open spaces and controls architecture, parking, landscaping, noise, lighting and signage from Dinner Key to Peacock Park.
The job will involve heavy interaction with residents and community leaders who have participated in discussions about revitalizing the waterfront.
The city has mandated at least three meetings between the consultant and those groups and named several stakeholders who should be included in the process - including the Coconut Grove Sailing Club, the Coconut Grove Village Council, the Coconut Grove Civic Club, Tree Man Trust, residents and other neighborhood groups.
"We all know for a fact that this is a very active community," Mr. Marcos said. "We would want to engage the public."