By: Ismael Rodriguez
Since 2010, Moishe Mana has led a crusade of investors to Downtown Miami, clothing it in more than $200 million that manifest in buildings, parking lots and garages across the Flagler district.
His vision for this area complements that of Tony Goldman, the now deceased owner of Goldman Properties, who envisioned a gold mine for developers and investors when he set out to develop in 2009.
“I figured I could pick up the pieces from here and continue what Tony started,” Mana told the press in 2015, “We are at the beginning of everything. It takes time to create the businesses, bring the businesses, curate what we want to bring here at the intersection of art and entertainment.”
Like Mana, other investors and developers like Danny Lavy have tapped into this historic main street lined with an array of stores and restaurants. Its prices for commercial properties have soared as a result, leading investors to purchase these low-rent properties.
In 2016, the city, seeking to attract more visitors by making it pedestrian friendly while also appealing to investors and developers who want to make a hefty profit from a valued area, has funded a $13 million plan to renovate and beautify the area.
The project includes enhanced crosswalks, new street lighting, upgraded sidewalks, oak trees, moveable railroad gates and new bike racks.
Unfortunately, the Miami Downtown Development Authority, appointed by the city to develop the plan, has suffered a few roadblocks, slowing the pace of the project to a near-halt. The delays come as a result of “forgotten old utility lines underground that didn’t match city records, according to the Miami Herald.
Only one block of Flagler Street sits completed with the proposed new sidewalks, trees, lighting and blacktop in the past year of construction.