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Lincoln Road’s $67 million makeover (and Business Improvement Areas)

Lincoln Road is one of my favorite parts of Miami Beach. Supposedly the pedestrian-only street attracts some 11 million visitors a year. But I have noticed that the street has lost some of its mainstays to areas such as Wynwood. This is probably why the city and local property/business owners struck a deal this past summer to makeover the street based on a design by Field Operations.

The deal works like this: The City of Miami Beach is going to pay for the entire US$67 million makeover. This money will come from city and county taxes, as well from bonds. In return, property owners in the Lincoln Road Business Improvement District (BID) have agreed to tax themselves an additional 25% in order to pay for promoting and programming the street.

Obviously everyone believes that they will come out ahead as a result of this makeover. An improved Lincoln Road means more foot traffic, more sales, and more tax revenue. There’s also talk of expanding the boundaries of the BID, which would generate additional funds. Right now the district is bounded by Alton Road on the west and by Washington Avenue on the east.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Business Improvement Districts, they are essentially defined areas where additional taxes are levied in order to fund projects and improvements that help overall economic development within the district. It is a structure that is used all around the world and it is one that was actually pioneered here in Toronto.

Here we call them Business Improvement Areas, and the first ever was the Bloor West Village BIA, which was established in 1970. There are now 83 BIAs in the City of Toronto. The first BID in the United States was the Downtown Development District in New Orleans. It was established in 1974. There are now over 1,200 across the U.S.

If you’d like to learn more about the improvements planned for Lincoln Road, here’s a copy of the master plan that was submitted to the City of Miami Beach’s Historic Preservation Board. The link is from The Next Miami.

Rendering: Field Operations

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