Betting On The Downtown Miami Renaissance

<p>Businesses are hoping the redevelopment activities in Downtown Miami will create a thriving commercial center. Until then, they are just trying to stay afloat.</p>
July 10, 2007, 8am PDT | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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"Despite the dirty streets and crime in downtown Miami, there are a handful of hidden gems trying to create a new beginning for the area.

It's no easy task for these small retailers and restaurants, who are in essence pioneers in an area just starting to see the signs of urban redevelopment.

They're hoping to get in on the ground floor as the thousands of new condominiums bring residents who will turn Miami into a true 24-hour city. Yet it's still unclear when these new residents will materialize.

In the meantime, these businesses are trying to develop a community and a following among the people who already live and work downtown. The challenge: building a profitable business at a time when the area is in transition."

"City leaders are vowing to make improving downtown a priority. A team of workers is cleaning the streets, paid for by the Miami Downtown Development Authority. The DDA also plans to hire a cadre of ''ambassadors'' to patrol the area with walkie-talkies, providing information and security, starting this fall.

Hoping to lure more national retailers, the DDA pitched the Miami story in May to retailers and restaurants with a booth at the International Council of Shopping Centers trade show in Las Vegas.

''I think you can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel,'' said Miami Mayor Manny Diaz said."

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Published on Monday, July 9, 2007 in The Miami Herald
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