Project facelift: preliminary approval given for South Beach BID

by Kerrie Kennedy

The Miami Beach City Commission has voted to give preliminary approval to the formation of a South Beach Business Improvement District, aimed at improving the safety and appeal of the city’s most iconic neighborhood.

Ballots will be sent to property owners between 5th and 15th streets on Ocean Drive and 5th and 16th streets along Collins Avenue who will vote to create a special assessment district. Exclusions include residential properties, condominium associations and religious and governmental institutions.

The home of Miami Beach’s Art Deco District and known for its beaches, nightlife and celebrity-chef eateries, the area that encompasses the proposed BID is the single most visited tourist destination in greater Miami.

Mike Palma, chair of the Ocean Drive Association and executive vice president for Jesta Group, which owns the Clevelander and Essex House Hotels in South Beach, has been key in leading the effort for the BID, which has identified 6 areas of emphasis: public safety, sanitation, lighting, beautification, art installations and community programming.

“Having one of the most recognizable hospitality brands in the world comes with a great responsibility to make sure that everyone who visits us has an extraordinary experience,” Palma said.

To that end, the BID’s steering committee has engaged urban planner Jerome Barth, who led much of the work around New York’s Bryant Park and Highline, to explore areas of possible improvement in South Beach. “Great programming in a park or a neighborhood takes great planning, and a willingness to essentially throw ideas against the wall and to see what sticks… the more types of things we try, the quicker we’ll be able to determine what types of programs resound with the community,” Barth said.

In order to move forward, 51 percent of all property owners in the district must vote in favor of the South Beach BID.

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