By: Ismael Rodriguez

Government officials in North Miami hope that introducing a 16-block Chinatown district could improve its depressed and stagnant economy, welcoming Chinese real estate investors in search of lower prices and profitability.

The resolution to create this 93-acre district, which will run along Northwest Seventh Avenue between 119th Street and 135th Street, passed in February 2016, bringing a city with a 75 percent black population, mostly Haitian, a stretch of commercial properties, prompting jobs, to raise the economy in an area where roughly 22 percent of its residents earn less than $15,000 a year.

Debbie Love, director of planning at Keith and Schnars, the Fort Lauderdale-based engineering consulting firm responsible for creating the conceptual plan, estimated 217,000 square feet of new retail space, and an increase of 600 percent in retail activity over the next 20 years if plan is implemented.

“In North Miami, land assemblage is easier than in the rest of Miami-Dade County, because the area hasn’t been redeveloped, like the Wynwood or Edgewater neighborhoods. There are a lot of older buildings with owners who are easier to deal with,” Craig Studnicky, principal at ISG, told the press.

City officials dubbed the project “Chinatown Cultural Arts and Innovation District,” targeting an Asian population that accounted for $665 million in Miami’s real estate market last year, according to a report from commercial brokerage CBRE in October.

“The Chinese population in Miami is growing,” Studnicky told the press. “Asians who come now love our climate and our clean air.”