Related is Paying for the Biscayne Line, Miami’s Great Baywalk
Thursday, April 9, 2015, by Curbed Staff[Renderings by Arquitectonica]
Three key players behind the Biscayne Line—a name that was originally limited to just the section of baywalk that the Related Group is spearheading through Edgewater but is evolving to mean the entire seven miles of Miami’s future baywalk system, as well as five additional miles of walkway along the Miami River—met at the sales center for Related’s Paraiso Bay megaproject to discuss their vision of the Line with Ocean Drive Magazine. Carlos Rosso of Related, District Two Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, and architect Bernardo Fort-Brescia of Arquitectonica revealed their confidence about seeing this substantial public amenity come to fruition. The city’s political will, public interest, and Related’s money will make it happen.
The public space will ultimately stretch from the Rickenbacker Causeway to the Julia Tuttle, with an additional 5 miles along the Miami River, following a 1979 law that requires every new development to reserve 20 feet of land from the water for public access. Private land along the waterfront which does yet have public access will be bypassed by incorporating “floating docks,” thanks to Miami’s ownership of the water; Fort-Brescia even hints at collaborating with University of Miami students (likely revisiting a landmark study that the school did with architect and professor Jacob Brillhart which mapped the waterfront) through this process.
These three believe that this transformation, which Rosso says will be funded by Related, will not only increase land value, but also improve public safety and help connect the city with its now-underutilized waterfront. As of now, the stretch through Edgewater is getting the majority of the attention because of the scale of Related’s investments in the area (Related has five towers either in the planning stages or under construction), but a lot of movements have been made on the Miami River sections as well.
They claim that nearby residents are on board, and to ensure their support, Sarnoff touches upon the idea of funding policing of the area through ad-valorem taxes on developers. Fort-Brescia states that through increased density and therefore better surveillance of the baywalk, improved safety is expected. “I think there are no great cities without great public space. Great cities have great parks and museums. In Miami, we are seeing that for the first time. For the maturity, it’s important to involve the universities, like UM” says Rosso. “Here we have beauty, which is the geography of Biscayne Bay. Logic says that we should take advantage of it and not separate ourselves from it. The most important message from our city is this bay and the connection with the water. To not try to experience that amazing dimension that we have is a pity.” says Fort-Brescia.—Alexandra J Miller
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