Massive Downtown Miami Project Expected To Finish In 2025

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According to a timeline provided by the Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA), the Flagler Street project in downtown Miami is expected to be completed in 2025 after eight years of on-and-off construction.

That’s the plan, anyway. Section E, the section of Flagler Street that runs from Miami Avenue to West First Avenue, still has no start date for development. Furthermore, if the 48 E. Flagler St. facility is not demolished, the completion of another part of Flagler Street may be delayed.

Miami City Commissioner Manolo Reyes, chairman of the Miami DDA, said the slow progress of the Flagler Street project has harmed downtown area businesses.

“This has been a frustrating experience, but we had to do it and we’re glad we did it,” Manolo said. “And I feel for the small businesses that have suffered because of the street closures.”

It was initially budgeted as a $13 million project when it launched in 2016. The project stalled 18 months later due to delays caused by unmapped utility lines and other issues.

After the city fired the original contractor, one of Flagler Street’s biggest property owners, Moishe Mana, insisted on a new plan based on designs, crafted by Zyscovich Architects, that envisioned a more pedestrian friendly thoroughfare. When the streetscape project restarted in 2021, the price tag doubled to more than $27 million.

Reyes said the cost to taxpayers and property owners will be closer to $30 million due to further delays and additional expenses. Those figures don’t include the $6 million Florida Power & Light will make in doubling its underground utilities.

Because none of the segments are complete, Flagler Street remains closed to vehicular traffic, the DDA stated.

The streetscape project has hurt downtown Miami’s marketability as a place to shop, dine, or drink. Listed rental rates for retail space in downtown Miami was $28.15 per square foot as of the second quarter of 2024, according to a recent report from Colliers. That’s substantially lower than the asking rates sought in Brickell ($66.38), Wynwood/Design District ($79.88), and the Biscayne Corridor ($63.95).

Last month, to help alleviate some of the hardship from the closures, the DDA handed out $5,000 grants to 16 retail businesses along Flagler Street.

Source: SFBJ