Boulevard With Dreams Print
Written by Mark Sell, BT Contributor   
September 2017

From discount to deluxe, it’s all coming our way 

APix_MarkSell_9-17s dogs pant in the shade and we watch the tropical forecasts, plenty is happening along Biscayne Boulevard, both in view and behind the scenes.

But first, we invite you to shake off the endless barrage of news at a free party, courtesy of Hispanic Heritage Month. North Miami kicks off its celebration Thursday, September 7, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

The event showcases “White Tropical Nights,” a new exhibit of works by noted Miami artist Edouard Duval Carrié; you’ll also find time for the craft beer from Descarga Brewery and Latin rhythms. Admission is free for MOCA members and North Miami residents with ID, and $10 for everyone else. Attendees are asked to wear white.

The big closing party, La Gran Fiesta, will take place October 7 from 7:00 to 10:30 p.m. at the MOCA Plaza.

Or you can check out North Miami Beach’s free celebration starting at 8:00 p.m. Friday, September 15, featuring Tito Puente Jr. and his Latin Jazz Ensemble at the Littman Theater (17011 NE 19th Ave.). Get your tickets at the door or by calling 305-948-2957.

As for Biscayne Boulevard, here are some highlights big and small, moving up from Miami Shores to 151st Street and beyond, into North Miami Beach.

Ross Dress for Less is replacing the just-shuttered Kmart at 108th Street and Biscayne Boulevard. Expect it to open by next month, with plenty of parking. The other Ross Dress for Less, at 12115 Biscayne Blvd., will remain open, with its parking lot from hell.

At the old Kmart mall, the Aldi market, a German-based corporate cousin to Trader Joe’s, is going great guns and gaining favor with folks in the market for cheaper eggs, almond milk, and organic fruits and veggies at a fraction of the prices of the big stores. Think pineapples for $2.09. Bring your recyclable bags and quarters for the shopping carts. It’s quirky, but worth a look.

Two chains and a mom-and-pop. There’s a Dunkin’ Donuts coming on 109th Street and a Starbucks on 120th. It’s good, though, to at least see a sign for KC Healthy Cooking, a hidden health-food gem at Suite 103 in the 11900 Biscayne Blvd. office building. Chef Jerry Dominique has done well by word of mouth and no signage, and it’s tasty, reasonable, and friendly.

The 127th Street Publix should open by December. After years in the works, the old Publix (vintage 1959) closed July 8. US 1 Fitness and Manley Jewelers relocated to the north end of the shopping center. Parking is, of course, problematic, but the pace of construction is happening fast.

Costco is moving! We generally avoid exclamations, but this one is big. Crews are getting the ground ready for a new Costco on 13.7 acres just east of the existing Costco in SoLēMia. This will be SoLēMia’s second big retail tenant. The first, the five-story Warren Henry Infiniti-Jaguar-Land Rover-Range Rover, is well along on SoLēMia’s northwest corner near 151st and Biscayne.

The main draw for this Costco -- one of the nation’s busiest -- is the parking, at 680 spaces. The total floor space will be about 16 percent larger than the current Costco, at 166,000 square feet. Completion is anticipated by late 2019.

Taj Mahals for cars. Dealerships are going vertical and working to make buying or servicing a car pleasurable. Toyota of North Miami (actually near 163rd and I-95) is one starter example. But the new Group 1 Audi dealership, just opened at 142nd Street, offers beach balls for kids, Wi-Fi, a reasonably plush environment, and covered spaces for new cars. Craig Zinn’s Lexus North Miami, just to the south and in business for the past seven years, offers a nursery, fitness center, gift shop, and boutique.

Stand by, though, for the biggest one of all, from Brett David, the 30-year-old president of Prestige Imports, which has sold more than $1 billion in luxury cars in the ten years he’s run the business. Two years ago, he sold his Audi dealership to Group 1 for $80 million. Those proceeds are going to create a corporate headquarters, scheduled to open this month at the site of the former Walgreens, just south of 151st Street on the west side. A Volvo dealership will replace the old site of the Audi dealership just to the south.

But the big Kahuna here is a planned eight-story Lamborghini dealership at the site of the current dealership within the next two years or so. The plan is to include simulated racing environments and other bells and whistles to turn the dealership into an attraction, and to offer plenty of covered parking for the fleet of cars and for customers. It offers all manner of sports and luxury cars, from a $19,000 Camaro to a $200,000 used Bentley and on up into the stratosphere. A white McLaren P-1 can be yours for $3 million and change, fit for a racetrack or the car elevator at Gil Dezer’s Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles Beach.

Onward to North Miami Beach. Along Biscayne Boulevard north from 135th Street, the confusing boundaries of North Miami Beach, unincorporated Miami-Dade, and North Miami entwine like snakes on a caduceus. Roughly speaking, North Miami Beach hugs the commercial strip on the east side of the Boulevard around 139th Street north through Target, Costco, and Biscayne Commons. Then it’s North Miami along the east side of the Boulevard up to the north courthouse, then North Miami Beach again to 163rd Street.

Confused yet?

West of the Boulevard is almost entirely North Miami up to 151st Street. Stretches of unincorporated Miami-Dade are scattered here and there.

North of 163rd Street, you can already see emerging a dramatic difference between the two cities in their approach to high-rises.

The first of the luxury twin 32-story towers of the Harbour at 16385 Biscayne Blvd. has topped out, with the second tower well along, with 425 units altogether. Just to the north at 172nd Street, the Marina Palms Yacht Club and Residences are operational.

For a time, North Miami Beach posted signs calling itself “the city on the rise.” North Miami Mayor Smith Joseph always calls his hometown “the city on the move.”

At least the North Miami Beach moniker is correct, in that the city has even more high-rises in its plans.

North Miami’s high-rise plans are more modest, confined almost entirely to SoLēMia, already approved for 4390 units. Otherwise, we’d expect the next phase of dense development near the All Aboard Florida railroad tracks and transit station around 123rd Street and NE 14th Avenue.

 

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