The 1926 Historic Fire House #2 is coming alive thanks to the Omni Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). The Omni CRA funded the $3.3 million renovation using proceeds from its special Omni taxing district. The agency will then set up their office on the second floor of the building and they expect to lease the ground floor to a restaurant. The CRA is also funding the ongoing reconstruction of Fourteenth Street, which includes new water lines and wider, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks. According to the Miami Herald the firehouse was designed by August Geiger, among the most prominent of early Miami architects. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
There are some great buildings at the intersection of North Miami Avenue and NE Fourteenth Street and I see the potential to redevelop this small neighborhood. Unfortunately, an opportunity was lost at this intersection and all along North Miami Avenue that would have helped the CRA achieve its goals of sparking redevelopment in this area.
North Miami Avenue should have been converted to a two-way street with parallel parking on both sides of the street. There is nothing business or pedestrian–friendly about a one-way road with three wide lanes that encourages speeding. As a business owner why would I want to establish a business on a street that only has cars speeding through in the morning? Any smart business owner would want morning and evening traffic driving by their store at much slower speeds.
It is difficult for retail businesses to sustain themselves on a one-way road with very little traffic and no on-street parking. By keeping North Miami Avenue business and pedestrian-unfriendly, the Miami Dade County Public Works and Waste Department is doing a disservice to the CRA and to potential business owners that would consider investing in the area.