By: Ismael Rodriguez

Store owners on South Beach’s Lincoln Road, the most expensive street in South Florida, are preparing for a $43 million city-funded project to beautify and enhance the common areas in hopes of attracting more visitors.

The city hired James Corner Field Operations, a New York-based landscaping firm, for the redevelopment in 2016, and the project is now expected to break ground in spring 2018, according to what Ivannia Van Arman, executive director of the Lincoln Road Business Improvement District, which represents 62 of the 75 properties in the area, told the press.

“It’s to create a better relationship between people and space,” Van Arman told the press.

The redevelopments cover common areas in the pedestrian-only street from Lennox Avenue to Washington Avenue, stretching down Meridian, Pennsylvania and Drexel avenues, replacing the old surface with aesthetically pleasing cement that includes sand and seashells. In addition, it will add a signature entrance with a trellis and increase open spaces for pedestrians to stroll.

“It’s a great plan to bring back the original concept of the design, and to open up the space so people can be more involved and they will be able to see all the artwork,” Israel Mendez, manager of Goorin Bros. Hat Shop on Lincoln Road, told the press. “It will create more room for art installations up and down the road.”

The construction is expected to take between 12 to 18 months, according to Van Arman, who’s working closely with the city to ensure that businesses across the stretch of road are free of any disruptions.