After almost a decade of design and planning, the Flagler Street Beautification Project is officially underway. Today, County and City officials gathered at the corner of Flagler St. and SE 3rd Avenue to celebrate the groundbreaking of a major redevelopment that will bring life back into the historic corridor at the heart of Miami.
Named after early pioneer Henry Flagler, who kickstarted the City's growth by ending his railroad right along this throughway in 1896. Flagler Street was the commercial heart of the city’s central business district, a destination streetscape teaming with activity and opportunity. Yet in the 1950s with the rise of the suburbs, it had fallen into disarray, no longer sustaining storefronts, and rapidly losing visitors - branding the corridor with a sense of abandonment.
Since then, Miami's central business district has experienced an unfettered population boom, growing from 40,000 to 80,000 residents from 2000 to 2015. In recognizing this growing need for urban living space, the City of Miami set forth on the revitalization of this historic corridor.
In 2013, Curtis + Rogers Design Studio along with BCC Engineering was hired by the City of Miami to completely redesign the streetscape. The goal - to develop an iconic pedestrian-friendly festival street that would breathe life back into the long-neglected space.
To the left is C+R Principal, Jennie Rogers. Since the project's inception, she has taken the lead role as project manager and successfully steered it to today's celebration.
While two blocks were completed in 2018, problems with the contractor lead to their removal and the project went on hold. In came Moishe Mana, who then purchased a high percentage of properties along Flagler Street, and requested that the street be more than the original design, which was restrained by budget and maintenance concerns. With pressure and an agreement to maintain non-standard improvements from the new Flagler BID, more money was found to fund an iconic streetscape.
Our final design involves a curb-less street that makes an ideal setting for street festivals and events, and Live Oak trees to provide needed shade. All this creates more space for sidewalk cafes and restaurants and offers the ability to close the street to traffic for events and festivals. As a nod to its historic character, the design will include steel rails embedded into the sidewalk and decorative railroad gates.
Rendering by RD+A Studio
Given C+R's commitment to designing resilient landscapes, the streetscape design integrates a modular suspended pavement system that provides structural support for soil volumes needed for large tree growth. This technology provides on-site stormwater management through interception, absorption, and evapotranspiration. With the increasing intensity of rain events in South Florida, this hidden design element will provide the needed capabilities to maintain function in the future.
In its completed state, the Flagler streetscape will improve the quality of life through a safer, more attractive shared space for businesses, residents, and visitors alike. We are so excited to see its construction in progress!
Flagler Street - Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow