Cra Advisory Board Grades Funding Proposals
By Deserae del Campo
Proposals for fixing up the Freedom Tower and upgrading infrastructure of Overtown Folklife District were among the high scorers in grading by the advisory board of the Omni and Southeast Overtown/Parkwest Redevelopment Agencies for projects seeking a share of tax-increment funds.
The board scored and prioritized about 20 projects that requested tax-increment funds to support affordable housing developments, infrastructure needs and historic preservation within the redevelopment boundaries.
According to a document highlighting the bonding capacity of both redevelopment agencies, the agencies may see about $340 million in tax-increment funds that can be used to bond projects within Miami’s blighted areas. The tax money is expected from residential and development projects currently being built in both areas.
Yet, the fates of the redevelopment agencies lie in the hands of Miami-Dade County commissioners who must decide whether to extend the lives of both agencies to 2027. Currently, county and City of Miami officials are negotiating on the future of both agencies.
Last week, the advisory board took a final view of prioritizing and categorizing the projects that were submitted back in July with scores ranging from 0 to 12.
The projects are now in the hands of the Miami’s Department of Capital Improvements and Transportation, the Historic Preservation Board and Community Development. The departments are to review each project and return them to the redevelopment committee within 90 to 120 days with a focus on what can be funded.
Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus’s earned a score of 11 under the historic preservation category with its request for $10 million for renovations to the Freedom Tower in downtown Miami.
According to the proposal, the money would fund a Freedom Tower exhibit, research center, a Cuban exodus exhibit and Miami Daily News and Metropolis Room.
The advisory board also gave high marks to an infrastructure project within the Overtown Folklife District that includes water and sewer repairs at Northwest Second Avenue between Northwest Eighth and 11th streets along with landscaping throughout the district at a cost of $3 million.
Lyric Promenade Associates LLC is requesting up to $7.5 million to build a public parking lot and the infrastructure needed to build a mixed-use project in Overtown. The Lyric Promenade would include 110 affordable elderly rental units, 106 workforce units and 149 hotel units along with 31,000 square feet of retail space and 16,000 square feet for a blues club.
The board gave the project the highest score, 12.
Phil Bacon with the Collins Center of Public Policy is requesting $20 million in tax dollars to buy land to build affordable homes within the Overtown Folklife District along with streetscape rehabilitation on Northwest Second and Third avenues. His proposals also received a 12.
"It’s good to see that the tax-increment dollars will be going into projects for affordable housing and infrastructure," said Commissioner and board member Linda Haskins. Advertisement