Developers are taking another crack at reviving Overtown, the historic heart of black Miami, by building up three long-vacant parcels near two historic buildings, the Lyric Theater (currently being expanded and restored) and the Greater Bethel A.M.E. Church. Don Peebles and former protégé Barron Channer, along with All Aboard Florida, will invest $200 million on the mega multipurpose development, with local politicians and residents expecting that the largest African-American-led real estate development and ownership company will deliver the goods.
Peebles' team plans to develop a Luis Revuelta-designed, silver LEED-certified project to be known as Overtown Gateway. Though winning in a vote, the CRA decided to split the prize with All Aboard Florida, which plans to build a railroad station literally on the other side of the tracks from Overtown.
Peebles told Curbed, who scrambled over to the Overtown Transit Village North café – apparently the only open indoor place aside from a bodega – that the scaled back version of his team's Overtown Gateway proposal reduces the number of units (all rental) from 670 to 500, to be constructed in two phases, with about 60 units designated as affordable housing, but will keep the 150-room hotel and a nominal amount of office space. All Aboard Florida, Peebles says, has committed to doing all the ground-floor retail, as well as additional office space, parking and liner retail.
The two companies will split the $5.5 million payment for the land, and the projects will be linked by a pedestrian walkway that connects to the All Aboard train station.
The elusive goal of resurrecting Overtown to a thriving, middle-class neighborhood with an entertainment district so good they called it Little Broadway didn't put off Peebles, the head of the largest African-American real estate development and ownership company in the U.S., but it did raise the stakes.
It will be the largest African-American led investment ever in Overtown.
"The expectations are far greater of the community than if we build in Tribeca or Miami Beach," Peebles said.
Overtown was overlooked in the last cycle. Maybe the current one will give it the momentum needed to get out of its decades-old rut. —Emily Schmall
· CRA Approves Deal With All Aboard Florida And Don Peebles [exMiami]
· Peebles' Overtown Project Will Connect To The Choo Choo [Curbed Miami]