Real Estate

Miami-Dade Explores Building High-Rise Tower Over Downtown Library and History Museum

You know what downtown Miami apparently needs more of? High-rises. You know what downtown Miami has very little room left to build? High-rises.

There's very little undeveloped land left in Miami's urban core, and what does exist is more than likely owned by a developer who has plans for it. That means the only option left is tearing down existing structures to make way for more high-rises, and even those opportunities are getting rare.

Noting the high demand for places to build in Miami, Miami-Dade's director of cultural affairs, Michael Spring, unveiled a proposal to redevelop the Miami-Dade Cultural Center, the site where the county's central library and History Miami museum sit, into a mixed-use high-rise. According to the South Florida Business Journal, the announcement was made at the P3 Pipeline conference, in which local government officials and private developers come together with the idea of securing public-private infrastructure and development deals.

Some ideas would involve demolishing parts of the existing building, though whatever idea comes to fruition would include space for both the library and museum.

Until the opening of its new Biscayne Bay-side building two years ago, the site was also home to the Miami Art Museum, now known as the PĂ©rez Art Museum Miami.

The museum and library sit atop a terrace, with their main floors two floors above street level. According to SFBJ, Spring said any plans would have to emphasize better connecting the museum and library to pedestrians. 

Of course, anyone who has visited the building knows that most of its charm comes from the expansive elevated terrace. It is a perfect place for cocktail parties after all. 

The county is open to the idea of a mixed-use building that could include condos and office space. 

The center sits in a section of downtown dominated mostly by government buildings. It's neighbors include the Stephen P. Clark Government Center and the Miami-Dade County Courthouse. So it's not exactly in a residential hotspot. Though, Spring noted that the All Aboard Florida depot will be nearby, and the site does have easy access to the nearby Government Center Metrorail station.

While some may be sick of local officials trying to make sure that all available area is opened up to make way for building fancy high-rises (which, if they are residential, remain out of the price range of all but the richest Miamians and are mainly bought up by foreign buyers as investments), such development does have it perks.

Especially for things like libraries.

Just two years after the library system faced draconian budget cuts, it's finally returning to something resembling normal. The county announced that starting in October, ten branches will now be back to operating six days a week. An increased budget also means that the library system will be able to afford infrastructure fixes at many branches and acquire more books. That's thanks to increased property taxes due to higher property value levels. 
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Kyle Munzenrieder