MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
By Shane Graber
Fashion, historic Legion Park and an FPL power boost are the focus of this edition of the MiMo Newsletter.
These are exciting times for the MiMo Biscayne Historic District and the surrounding Upper Eastside neighborhoods!
Residents are excited by the new opening of California-based Trina Turk/Mr. Turk, along with the news that New York-based Angel Sanchez has also chosen to open up in the MiMo District—all within a stone’s throw of the new Miami-based Julian Chang boutique.
New commercial activity reinforces the strategic location and marked importance that a MiMo address entails. We are located at the strategic northern gateway to the City of Miami, in the city’s only commercial historic district.
The community and city’s efforts to preserve our buildings and sense of place are clearly paying off!
Of course, with all these changes also comes the need to preserve our historic structures while proactively considering how to improve future development in order to overcome some of our current challenges.
The current 35-foot height limit along Biscayne Boulevard has proven to be fertile ground for rich community conversation.
After months of planning and consideration, the MiMo Planning Committee has embraced a progressive, yet moderate, approach to the height limit. The group supports mixed-use buildings for some of the vacant lots along the boulevard—buildings that could contain retail and restaurants along with living units, office space, and plenty of parking.
Parking has become a challenge for some of our newer businesses which lack historic parking for their patrons. Consider Moshi Moshi, Ms. Cheezious, or even the new Starbucks. These are all in older buildings constructed at a time when the boulevard had on-street parking and the world was a simpler place.
The MiMo Planning Committee is advocating a modified 53-foot height limit to replace the current 35-foot height limit in order to help encourage a more livable and sustainable boulevard, which would, in turn, benefit our residential neighborhoods.
This modest change would impact vacant lots which have not yet been planned or permitted for development, both providing a solution to parking needs and encouraging the mixed use development which is not an option within currently mandated height restrictions. At the same time, all new construction will continue to be subject to federal and local preservation guidelines governing historic districts and will be required by law to conform to the historic scale and character of surrounding buildings.
This newsletter also tells the storied past of Legion Park—another community treasure.
Opportunities exist for the community to embrace continued park improvements, opening up the park more to Biscayne Boulevard and the surrounding neighborhoods, and the opportunity to challenge city leaders to improve the amenities and overall master plan for Legion Park. Exciting opportunity!
Legion Park can become our mini Central Park!
We also have the opportunity to consider how new development can help to improve and activate the park. In the upcoming months, developers of the former American Legion Hall—which is adjacent to Legion park—should be ready to host a community presentation on their vision for a re-development plan just east of Biscayne, to the south of Legion Park. Of course, the goal is always to do so in harmony with the surrounding residential neighborhoods.
With all this new energy, we need to ensure we have the infrastructure to sustain the new construction and renovations in the area.
FPL has embarked upon a power-grid upgrade for the Upper Eastside, which is the focus of another article in this newsletter.
The true power in the MiMo District is in our people! MiMo volunteers, Upper Eastside neighborhood activists, our long-time businesses, and our newly-arrived residents and businesses all add to the diversity and character of this historic village.
On behalf of the MiMo board of directors, thank you for your support—and for helping to make MiMo an even more spectacular place to live, work and play.