Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Changes are coming to Coral Gables

Next year several remodeling projects for the city will be carried out. Coral Gable's future comes with towers pushing up against the limits of the city's famously stringent zoning rules, new hotels, hundreds of condos, apartment units, an array of offices, restaurants, public art and pedestrian-friendly developments.

The discussion about the renovation of Miracle Mile lasted for about three decades. Recently, the approval of local residents made the difference to go through with the modernization project. Within this project is also the renovation of neighboring Giralda Avenue.

Miracle Mile and Giralda Avenue streetscape project aimed to give a new face to the streets. An expansion of the sidewalks width will be made, making the streets a lively pedestrian-friendly area capable of luring new and diverse businesses, provide more space for bicycles by slightly narrowing auto travel lanes, and replacing angled street parking with parallel parking. Retractable bollards will make it easy to close the street for special events such as the popular Giralda Under the Stars. The development of this project will be done quickly and without interfering with normal business life since it will not be done all at once but gradually after the holiday season.

Among other projects is the Mediterranean Village at Ponce Circle, a project of more than 6 acres. In one of its areas it will have a greater height than the Biltmore Hotel, which has been the limit for the last 90 years. It is expected to result in an urbanistically cohesive, well-designed set of buildings; including a five-star hotel, a class A office building, two condo towers, 15 townhomes, a rooftop restaurant, public plazas and streets that will bring fresh commercial and pedestrian life to what has been a dead zone for too long.

Under the Mediterranean Village development, the city is also installing new bike lane routes and expanding its popular trolley-bus system.

Also, among new developments redefining Coral Gables is this project that involves replacing the old Holiday Inn with two towers; a 13-story residential building and a 10-story hotel. The project would feature shops and restaurants on the ground floor and a pedestrian passage connecting to the adjoining neighborhood.  It will activate the corner of U.S. 1 and Caballero with transit-oriented development, which includes the green space that the 0.5-acre Paseo will provide.

This is not even the beginning; there are still many projects in the city develoment pipeline. However, not all the contemplated projects will actually get built or go as big as proposed, since they must meet the strict zoning rules of the city. 

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