Daily Archives: November 6, 2007

Pondering Parcel B

Map: Parcel B, highlighted in red, is almost in the center of the proposed Baywalk path (blue line) and is even closer to being in the center of the entire Core.

As per the 2004 PPS report, there are several propositions for this excellently situated parcel’s use:

  1. Restaurants such as an outdoor bar and grill
  2. An outdoor market, farmer’s market, or collector’s market
  3. Soccer field
  4. Bait and tackle shop for nearby marinas
  5. Dancing Ballroom
  6. An open area for T.V. events
  7. Science Museum Wildlife facility
  8. Recreational activities pavilion
  9. Bay of Pigs Museum

I like none of them. Whatever goes on Parcel B needs to be alluring to residents, visitors, and tourists. It should boost civic pride, appeal to the public, and be a natural extension of the Baywalk. The Bay of Pigs Museum only appeals to a limited segment of the community and although deserving of a memorial, doesn’t merit parcel B as its location. The other ideas are too plain or trite.

So then, what should go on Parcel B? How about an open air plaza or square? This isn’t a new idea. It’s been circulating for sometime, but remains largely overlooked.

Sure its simple, but before you dismiss it, consider these points:

  • We don’t have a plaza or open square in the whole Core
  • Outdoor sculptures and art can be readily displayed
  • It has good linkage to pedestrians via Biscayne Boulevard, the proposed Baywalk, Bayside Marketplace, American Airlines Arena, and the proposed Museum Park
  • It’s an ideal location for an iconic monument
  • It’d be a great centerpiece for the whole Baywalk and serve as a natural extension of it
  • It wouldn’t block the view of the American Airlines Arena
  • Urban plazas are typically situated in the center of the City. Parcel B is smack dab in the center of the Core’s three main segments.
  • The area of parcel B is generally smaller, but comparable in size to other notable plazas and open squares including (I used Google Earth’s measurement tool):
    • Plaza Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
    • St. Marks Square, Venice, Italy
    • Plaza Maria Pita, A Coruna, Spain
    • Troickaia Square, St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Of the nine proposed uses listed in the beginning of this post, at least three of them could be incorporated in to the plans for an open square (1, 2, and 6).
  • Having art installations or sculptures would coincide perfectly with the Art in Public spaces initiative promoted at the County and municipal level
  • Its rather inexpensive to construct and incorporate into the Baywalk

I understand that MAM’s plan in Museum Park includes a sculpture garden and maybe having both would be overkill, but a plaza or open square on Parcel B presents many other uses. Below are some images of the temporary sculpture exhibitions at the Plaza Maria Pita in La Coruna, Spain. Just imagine a similar square, dotted with art and people, with a backdrop of glistening blue water, towers, museums, and the AAA–all connected to the Baywalk. Not a bad thought.


Filed under BoB Articles, Outside of the Box, Public Spaces

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Parkwest and Falcone Further Considered

The New Landlord of Parkwest

Under normal circumstances, Falcone’s plans for Parkwest would be astounding, but in Miami, normal circumstances are hard to come by. There are other projects that resemble Falcone’s vision for a city-within-a-city nearby: CitiSquare, Omni, and Midtown. In fact, his vision is simply the latest of Miami’s mega projects. This does not change the fact that his vision is unprecedented in scale and scope.

Since Lev Leviev and Shaya Boymelgreen acquired the Hank Sopher parcels beginning in 1999, they were the primary land owners in the area west of Bicentennial. Daniel Kodsi, around 2003 began his acquisition patterns in the area as well, and although busy developing Paramount Bay has yet to start Paramount Park. Today, the three real estate giants are no longer the landlords of Parkwest. The title is now Art Falcone’s. Let’s take a closer look at the area in question:

Map: The area highlighted in blue west of Bicentennial is where 85% of the Falcone acquisitions have taken place. North of the I-395 are two blue areas. The one south of 15th street is roughly the area allocated to Citi-Square, and the area north of it is the Omni. I have also repositioned the I-395 itself to illustrate, more or less, what the realignment of the over pass would look like. The current track of the I-395 is highlighted in green as the current FDOT plans call for the creation of park space along the current track once the project is completed.

With three mega-projects planned so near to one another, the prospects for the future of both Parkwest and the Media and Entertainment District are tantalizing big and forward-thinking. The trend seems to be the total overhauling of existing infrastructure in favor Miami 21 building guidelines; wider streets and avenues, new thoroughfares, more green space. The Falcone rendering even includes a rotunda and grand fountain on N.E. 1st Avenue.

Image: Rendering of the Parkwest plans from aerial vantage point

The plans seem to compliment the Parkwest’s newest towers well and are in the preliminary stages. However, with so many residential projects now stalled or canceled, it’s difficult for some to get enthusiastic about even this massive new development. If you have doubts about Falcone’s seriousness, then consider that other than strategically amassing this impressive Parkwest portfolio, in anticipation of executing to the best possible outcome, he and his team have traveled to

Europe, China, Dubai, Japan, India and across South America and the United States for ideas. Favorites include Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills, Paris’ Champs Elysées, Dallas’ Victory Park and Rio de Janeiro.”

and are collaborating with the likes Zyscovich and Elkus Manfredi. It’s clear that Falcone recognizes the historic opportunity for development he has in Parkwest. His international visits tell me that he and his team have high urbanism standards and want to apply the best urbanism ideas to their plans for the Magic City. Being in the heart of the Core, whatever happens in Parkwest will surely spill over an effect the CBD and M&E. Although early in the planning stages, owners at Parkwest’s newest condos must be rejoicing at the thought of Falcone’s plans, and they certainly shouldn’t be alone.

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Filed under BoB Articles, CBD: Financial District, CBD: Jewelry District, CBD: Overtown, CBD: Parkwest