Downtown floats plans to lure boaters
Written by Catherine Lackner on November 6, 2013
Directors of Miami’s Downtown Development Authority say they want to connect the city’s Biscayne Bay waterfront with a series of parks and open spaces, and they’d like more opportunities for boaters to spend time downtown.
The authority favors creating a bay walk from Margaret Pace Park at 1745 N Bayshore Drive to Brickell Bay Drive, south of the Miami River. Studies by the University of Miami, the Metropolitan Planning Organization and the city’s Capital Improvements Program support the idea, said Cesar M. Garcia-Pons, authority senior manager of planning, design, transportation and services.
Nine locations have been selected as first priorities, and “we’re really close to getting that accomplished,” Mr. Garcia-Pons said at last month’s development authority board meeting. “We’re excited about it.”
“The woman’s club piece is about to be done,” said board member Julie Grimes, referring to the historic Miami Women’s Club building at 1737 N Bayshore Drive.
But more effort is needed, said Ms. Grimes, who is also the owner of the DoubleTree Grand Hotel. “We need to activate the waterfront. It’s one of our top resources and it’s not being capitalized upon. We should get it high on the radar screen of Capital Improvements.”
“Every boat coming down this way passes right by downtown Miami,” said board member Richard Lydecker, who is senior partner of the Lydecker – Diaz law firm, “but there’s no place to stop your boat. You want to dock your boat where you can walk to a restaurant, maybe make a day of it.’
If the city were to create more docking facilities along Biscayne Boulevard, “you’d have it active at night,” he said. “You could even target the type of boat you want.” There is dock space available at Bayside, he said, “but that’s a destination place, away from the urban core.”
Board member Alicia Cervera, managing partner of Cervera Real Estate, said she would like to take clients out touring on her boat and tie up downtown, “but there is no place.”
There are places to dock down the Miami River, said board member Jose Goyanes, who owns Metro Beauty Center, Churchill’s Barbershop, and Tre Italian Bistro. He conceded, however, that it could be dicey when navigating around freighters and suggested the city incentivize condo developers to add dockage along their seawalls.
“Let’s walk before we can run,” Ms. Grimes said. “These nine areas are missing links.”
“If we get this done, we’ve accomplished a lot,” concluded board Vice Chair Neisen Kasdin, the office managing shareholder of the Akerman Senterfitt law firm.