Miami Beach commissioners and property owners on Lincoln Road are proposing the creation of a special assessment tax to pay for marketing and branding of the outdoor pedestrian mall.
The city worked with the Lincoln Road Property Owners Association to propose a business improvement district that, if approved by a majority of affected property owners and the commission, would tax itself to raise $1.4 million per year to spend on advertising, holiday programs, decorations, signage and other promotion for the district.
The district, which was approved by commissioners at Wednesday’s meeting, is intended to last 10 years.
Commissioner Joy Malakoff lauded the idea and said it will improve the look and feel of Lincoln Road.
“The Lincoln Road business improvement district is going to be a gem in the city of Miami Beach,” she said.
Commissioner Michael Grieco said he and Lincoln Road business owners met with residential neighbors to inform them of the plans.
“One of the things we read about and hear about frequently is how Lincoln Road is not seemingly as welcoming as we would like for some of the residents, whether that’s reality or that’s perception,” he said. “So we wanted to include surrounding residential communities as part of this process and not just have it be a strictly business proposal.”
According to the proposal, the district would be bounded on the west by Alton Road, on the east by Washington Avenue, on the north by 17th Street and on the south by Lincoln Lane South. Residential properties, properties owned or occupied by a religious institution and used as a place of worship or education and common areas owned by condominium associations would be exempt.
The tax for the total of 76 properties would be calculated based on the ground floor area. The 58 properties that front Lincoln Road would pay $2 per square foot and and 18 properties that do not front the mall would pay 20 cents per square foot.
The next step is a mail ballot election where affected property owners can approve the district with a simply majority vote. After that, the commission would hold a public hearing for any interested parties to speak.
Steve Gombinski, a member of the executive board of the Lincoln Road Property Owners Association, applauded the move.
“We are thrilled with today’s vote and grateful to the mayor and commissioners of Miami Beach for allowing property owners to move forward with the formation of the Lincoln Road BID,” he said. “Coupled with exciting, James Corner-designed master plan for the road, the city is taking important steps toward securing the long-term of Lincoln Road.”
Howard Herring, president and CEO of the New World Symphony, said the district is a positive development that will dovetail nicely with a new vision and master plan being developed by Corner, the mastermind behind New York’s renowned High Line.
“Lincoln Road is a unique blend of tropical urbanity and unexpected quirkiness,” he said in a statement. “The BID will create a new resource that can help preserve this authenticity while improving appearance and function, making it an even more attractive destination for the community and national/international visitors. We are on the precipice of an historic moment for the future of the Road.”
In other business from Wednesday’s meeting:
▪ After one firm, Clark Construction Group, bid to be the city’s contractor for the large renovation of the Miami Beach Convention Center, commissioners voted to allow staff to open the construction company’s sealed bid and determine whether it will recommend Clark move forward. City staff has a few weeks to do that before making a recommendation at the next meeting, where the commissioners could vote to start negotiating with Clark. The city has a budget of about $500 million for the project. Clark became the last company in the running after the most recent bid process.
▪ The westernmost stretch of the Venetian Causeway, or 720 feet of worn-out bridge connecting the mainland to Biscayne Island, is tentatively scheduled to be shut down on June 1st for a complete reconstruction project that is expected to last nine months.
City Manger Jimmy Morales said he’s confirmed with the U.S. Coast Guard that during that shut down, the eastern drawbridge between Rivo Alto Island and Belle Isle will remain locked down and only raised for the U.S. Coast Guard for emergency vehicles during emergencies.
“For the record, none of our emergency vehicles require the raising of the bridge,” the Beach manager said.