Here’s what a Bob critic had to say recently on the excellent skyscrapercity.com site:
Roark (the critic) say’s: This was either written last year, or Bob doesn’t get out much. If written recently, Bob is dead wrong! As a matter of FACT, I drove North on Biscayne Boulevard TODAY at 6:44pm. Lot’s of pedestrian traffic coming out of One Miami and the Citibank Building. Bayside was jumping and there was clearly lot’s of traffic ahead for the MiamHeat -v- Sonics game. I turned west…more people!!! That pesky Miami Dade College! With 164,000 students and an upcoming International Book Fair it the CBD. Anyone else in the car with me would say that Bob is mischaracterizing the area as dead. Continuing with my drive I turned north and had to drive past theCarnival Center…as you may guess…it was all lit up and very lively. People were walking from the Grand, exiting the Metromover and heading to tonights show. Maybe they were coming from the half dozen or so restuarants in the Grand…who knows. What I know for sure is that the CBD isn’t dead today, and it’s very unlikely that it’ll be dead tomorrow. The 6 skyscrapers aren’t occupied yet, and the road construction/sidewalk isn’t even finished and it’s anything but dead.
I’ll stop right there. I don’t have the stamina to debunk all of Bob’s rant.
BOB’s response: Ever taken a walk into the CBD interior at 8PM Roark? Let’s put aside that extremely pleasant walk for Heat fans to the AAA from those far away parking lots at night. I know all too well how pleasant those walks can be: the puddle hopping and mingling with homeless beggars. Between you and I Roark, Heat fans usually go from their cars straight to the game and get out. Sometimes they trickle over to Bayside. The CBD, in its current nightly state, cannot cater to them and isn’t safe. Oh, and those Miami-Dade college night students, which by the way, 164,000 students for all dozen or so MDC campuses throughout the county has little to do with the CBD. It could be that many of the MDC Wolfson campus students hang out in the CBD at night after class. Maybe they go to the shady cafe across N.E. 1st avenue to hang out with the shadowy characters there. With so many dining options, its hard to know what to eat at night when going along N.E. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Avenues.
Roark, I SEE THE REAL CBD. The one that becomes a ghost town at night. The one that’s hard to feel safe in at night. I’m refering to the majority of the area. Not the thin slither of land along the bay that you refer to in almost all your points. I’m not saying that this wont change. I’m saying that it is what it is. Bayside is an isolated shopping/dining/entertainment facility. People park in Bayside garages, go into the facility, get back in their cars and leave. They don’t go around the CBD at night. The PAC and the Grand along with Bay Parc Plaza, in Uptown, do have some residents and tourists that drift outdoors at night; and that area, as I have stated clearly in my past articles, represents huge potential, but even it gets quiet at night. In so far as the supposed “half a dozen” restaurants inside of The Grand, well the two restaurants, one delli, and two bars are good for the residents of the building and those tourists staying inside the hotel, but the city is outside. How about we stick to the streets Roark. How many restaurants are open in the PAC district right now folks? How many are open into the evening along the interior of the CBD? Ask Roark. He knows tons. As far as what the book fair has anything to do with walking the CBD at night, only Roark knows.
One Miami and the Loft I are the only new buildings that are occupied in the CBD. These two projects are a positive change, but are certainly not enough to build a bustling community at night. I know what its like to leave the CBD at 8pm, hungry, wishing that Nostra Pizza on NE 1st Avenue or La Floridita Cafe on NE 1st street, were open. But, the owners know that there aren’t too many people like me out there, yet. I’ve tried, in vain, to convince them otherwise. Roark, I respect your opinion. And, you know what? You’re right about one thing thing. Maybe saying that everything closes after 6PM is a bit off on my part. Its more like almost every retail store and restaurant in the CBD closes after 6PM. Although I posted it recently, that article is somewhat old, Janurary 2006 to be exact, but I posted it for my archives. So, I was not wrong when I said that there were no residents in the CBD, because back in January, there were none. By now, obviously, there have been new occupanices at One Miami and the Loft I. Regarding your claim that I am “mischaracterizing the city as dead”. If you would have read the article that Frenchy Miami had quoted, you would have known that the point of the article was to address the emerging Parkwest and CBD neighborhoods as having enormous potential. Still, potential doesn’t mean things have materialized. The fact is that although there is much about to happen, most of it hasn’t happened yet.