Coral Gables

Coral Gables looks to trademark Miracle Mile, but whose moniker is it?

Photo of Coral Gables celebrating the completion of two blocks of the Miracle Mile streetscape project on Friday, May 19, 2017.
Photo of Coral Gables celebrating the completion of two blocks of the Miracle Mile streetscape project on Friday, May 19, 2017.

Lined with mom-and-pop shops, bridal stores and fancy restaurants, Miracle Mile has been called the “jewel” of Coral Gables.

And despite not being the first city to name a road or space Miracle Mile, city leaders fear that another similarly-named attraction could threaten their standout street. So the city now is looking to protect the name.

An Illinois-based company is applying to trademark the name of Miracle Mile Shops in Las Vegas, but it’s not a new business. The shopping mall has had that name since 2007 and it’s not alone in having that moniker.

The name has been used for several shopping areas, most notably in Los Angeles and New Orleans but also in New York and other districts around the country. And the phrase has been used by artists ranging from Billy Joel to Steely Dan and more recently the California-based band Cold War Kids.

“A miracle mile, where does it lead to?” sings Nathan Willett in the chorus of the Cold War Kids’ song “Miracle Mile.”

So far it has led to commissioners voting to allow the city’s legal team to either request a delay of the application or to oppose the trademark bid.

The Gables doesn’t seem set to protect its main road from those other cities using the name.

Business owners in the City of Coral Gables worry that continued street construction on Miracle Mile could continue to cause them to lose money.

City Attorney Craig Leen said the city’s argument is partially based on how long Coral Gables has had its designation. The stretch of Coral Way that runs from Southwest 37th Avenue to 42nd Avenue has been known as Miracle Mile since 1947.

“We seek to trademark our use and oppose theirs to the extent that it infringes on ours,” Leen said. “My goal is to protect Miracle Mile.”

The Gables road is in the midst of a major streetscape overhaul and has been home to several bridal shops, restaurants, jewelers and other retailers for decades.

Ongoing construction work in Coral Gables at the corner of Galiano Street and Miracle Mile on Thursday, August 17, 2017. Sebastián Ballestas

“It would be a significant issue if we were limited so I feel we need to be proactive in protecting it,” Leen said.

The city didn’t take any legal action in 2007 when the Desert Passage mall in Las Vegas was renamed the Miracle Mile Shops or against the Miracle Mile district in Los Angeles, which dates back to the 1920s.

Lauri Thompson, the attorney representing Illinois-based Institutional Mall Investors LLC, declined to comment but said she had not heard from anyone in the Gables about her client’s application. Institutional Mall Investors bought the Miracle Mile Shops back in 2016, as reported in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Miracle Mile shopping areas also exist in Stockton, California; Manhasset, New York; and in a few other cities across the country.

The decision to pursue legal action is the latest in a series of litigation seemingly aimed at defending the city’s reputation.

In 2006, the city filed a trademark to preserve the use of the nickname “City Beautiful” — despite Orlando also claiming that designation and including it in their city seal.

And this past August, the city sued Facebook and Instagram seeking the identity of anonymous groups that linked the city to a crime that happened outside the Gables. The posters were criticizing the city’s decision to hire security officers to patrol certain areas of Coral Gables and in some posts used the city’s seal.

That lawsuit is still open and the city is attempting to reach a settlement. Leen said their action against the social networks is also centered on protecting the city’s trademark.

This story has been updated to correct the boundaries of Miracle Mile in Coral Gables.

Lance Dixon: 305-376-3708, @LDixon_3