Downtown’s cultural corridor blossoms

The Miami Herald


The news that Espacio USA will build a $412 million mixed-use development at 1400 Biscayne Boulevard is a big win for Miami’s real-estate market and broader economy. It’s also a sign that the cultural corridor now under development in downtown Miami is serving as a magnet for new investment.

Since the Adrienne Arsht Center’s debut in 2006, development plans totaling more than $5 billion in new public and private investment have materialized in the immediate neighborhood, fueling downtown Miami’s transformation from an overlooked 9-to-5 district into a vibrant 24/7 residential and commercial community.

Great arts institutions have served as anchors for urban revitalization and engines for business in cities around the world, from New York to Sydney. Now it’s happening in Miami.

Just 10 years ago, the area around the Arsht Center was largely vacant. Then our community set out to construct a performing-arts campus that would play host to the world’s best artists, educate children and adults and fuel economic growth in one of America’s most diverse cities.

Today, the Center’s Cesar Pelli-designed campus is the heart of Miami’s thriving urban core.

Some of the world’s largest real estate firms are hatching plans for mixed-use developments throughout downtown and crediting the Arsht Center and its soon-to-be neighboring arts institutions as a driving force behind their investments.

And this is only the beginning. YoungArts will soon occupy the former Bacardi headquarters on Biscayne Boulevard, and Museum Park will be anchored by world-class buildings for the Miami Art Museum and Miami Science Museum.

Representatives from our downtown arts institutions have taken an active role by partnering with some of our community’s top real estate and business minds to form the Town Square Neighborhood Development Corporation.

Working alongside the world’s top architects, engineers and urban planners, we have created an aspirational master plan for transforming our neighborhood into a vibrant district with a mix of education, cultural, housing, entertainment, and recreational uses, civic and retail centers with sufficient public transportation, and parking.

We’re only a few years away from a day when visitors crossing the causeway from Miami Beach to downtown Miami will find themselves at the center of one of the most vibrant cultural neighborhoods in the Western Hemisphere.

Miami’s investments in the arts are paying dividends well beyond anyone’s imagination. A 2012 study by Americans for the Arts found that the economic impact of the arts in Miami-Dade County has eclipsed $1 billion for the first time.

Likewise, the new residential infrastructure that has been developed in and around our arts corridor is drawing residents at a feverish pace, with the Miami Downtown Development Authority reporting that the area’s population has grown by 80 percent in the past decade. A thriving community is forming around our arts base.

All signs indicate this economic growth will continue as young professionals inject new life into our downtown city streets and provide an incentive for continued investment and development.

Lewis “Mike” Eidson is chairman of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County board of directors, a Town Square Neighborhood Development Corporation board member, and managing partner of the law firm Colson Hicks Eidson.

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