Palmetto Bay

Now it’s vacant land and scruffy buildings. Palmetto Bay wants to make it a mini-downtown

Road improvements are the main element of this phase of the Franjo Road project.
Road improvements are the main element of this phase of the Franjo Road project. Village of Palmetto Bay

A multi-million dollar infrastructure project that will redefine Palmetto Bay’s downtown core is one step closer to being built.

After three bid presentations Tuesday night, the Palmetto Bay Village Council voted to enter contract negotiations with Acosta Tractors Inc., a Miami-Dade based development company, to upgrade Franjo Road and turn it into the town’s new main street.

The move to redevelop the municipality’s downtown center has been in the works for more than a decade. What is currently an area full of vacant land, scruffy buildings and old warehouses is on track to become an urban center with a mini-downtown. Apartments and condos will take the place of vacant or unkempt structures. City planners hope bike lanes and landscaping will help bring in more businesses.

To relieve traffic, the plan also calls for construction of a new street called Park Drive, parallel to Franjo Road on what is now swale and parkland, as well as a roundabout.

Also in the pipeline are major landscaping islands, new pavers and the installment of FPL underground service that will replace street poles and overhead wires.

$10-12 million Anticipated cost of Franjo Road project

The Franjo Road project is expected to cost $10 to $12 million. The final contract will come before the council in September.

Acosta Tractors is no stranger to Palmetto Bay. The development company has worked on various projects including Palmetto Bay Park, drainage improvements at Coral Reef Park and the rehab of its pedestrian bridge, plus nearby projects including improvements to Old Cutler Road and Caribbean Boulevard in Cutler Bay.

“Caribbean Boulevard or Miami Lakes’ Main Street are both very good examples of what we are aiming for,” said Ed Silva, Palmetto Bay’s city manager. “The goal is to increase pedestrian walkability, add bike lanes, street parking, landscape islands down the middle of Franjo Road, and remove all the electrical poles.”

Funding for the project includes about $7.5 million from a county general obligation bond, $1.8 million from a county grant earmarked for traffic infrastructure improvements, and fees paid by companies that develop in the rising downtown area.

The goal is to increase pedestrian walkability, add bike lanes, street parking, landscape islands down the middle of Franjo Road, and remove all the electrical poles.

Ed Silva, Palmetto Bay city manager.

On Monday, the village council approved plans for Sandpiper, a five-story apartment building with 82 units, and Parkview, another five-story residential complex with 235 units. Both developments were significantly downsized after they drew major opposition from Palmetto Bay residents, who hoped the developments would set the tone for the future downtown.

Slated to be built in the same area is Atlantico, a five-story, 271-apartment complex. A charter school has been proposed for neighboring property. The property’s owner, local real estate developer Wayne Rosen, is in talks with the city about selling the land, which was recently appraised at about $10 million.

Acosta Tractors was one of three companies who bid for the project. The others were Central Florida Equipment, a local firm, and Sacyr Construction, an international company.

The village had put the project out for bid last year but had to throw it out and start over when someone noticed a math error on the scoring sheets.

Monique O. Madan: 305-376-2108, @MoniqueOMadan

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