May will be a big month for Wynwood – property owners will be voting to form a Business Improvement District, which will help to raise money that will be used for neighborhood priorities. One such priority is security.
The initiative has recently been unanimously approved by Miami City Commissioners and is being driven by a group of influential business and property owners in the form of a Steering Committee. The Committee is comprised of over 60 members. The initiative is now in the hands of commercial property owners in the area between 1-95 and N. Miami Ave, north of the downtown area. A majority of 50.1% in favor is needed to make the improvement plans a reality.
“Our Business Improvement District (BID) will give Wynwood a single voice speaking for the commercial area,” said David Collins, the director of the Wynwood BID project. “With one voice, we will be much more powerful advocates to demand better and expanded City services.” Property owners will be investing money in needs such as better sanitation and enhanced street lighting, as part of the BID plan.
Property owners will cast a vote for each commercial folio they own. There will be a June 4 in-person poll election scheduled to be held at the Wynwood Walls, after the four week mail-in ballot period in May.
“Business improvement districts happen to revive commerce in urban areas,” said Collins, “It allows them to self-invest as commercial communities.” Project advocates see the BID plan as the next step towards a Wynwood transformation from a past as an industrial warehouse district to a future as a vibrant pedestrian-friendly cultural destination.
“I think we’re definitely on the right track,” said Collins.
Story by Aisha Moktadier. Photo by Martha Cooper.
The Wynwood Arts District Association has been legally operating since 2009 for the well-being and improvement of the Wynwood Arts District – one of the largest and most prominent Art communities in the United States. Taking over what used to be the warehouse and manufacturing district of Miami, developers have rehabilitated neglected warehouses, shuttered factories, and other unused buildings transforming them into the numerous galleries, restaurants, artists studios, cafes, bars, and residences that are seen here today. With the introduction of the Second Saturday Art Walk in the District and the arrival of the Art Basel fair in 2002, Wynwood has seen some unexpected growth in a relatively short period of time as it gets more and more attention by the locals as the go-to place for an alternative and more cultural nightlife in the City of Miami. The endorsement and vision of some prominent figures in the art world deciding to explore the potential of the district and setting up shop in Wynwood has also influenced the success and recognition of the District among the international art elite. More and more, we see international and acclaimed art collectors, curators, and artists, express their serious interest in our still young, but very driven community. In December, Wynwood receives a tremendous amount of traffic and exposure as it becomes a destination of its own with both, local and international art connoisseurs. Though the influence and relevance of the arts community in Wynwood is undeniable, new businesses of all types are opening their doors in the District and encountering success here. With this in mind, Wynwood has to provide the pedestrian and infrastructural improvements needed to attract and host the traffic on its streets and sidewalks – whether it is pedestrian, bicycle, or vehicular traffic – in order to enhance the experience of the visitor.
But what exactly is the BID? How do local businesses benefit from this?
The BID (Business Improvement District) is a designated area in which the commercial property owners decide to collectively raise their own taxes by a small percentage in order to fund improvements within the district’s boundaries. In the state of Florida, communities who are seeking to become a Business Improvement District have to do so by holding a ballot election. If the BID goes through, then 100% of the money which the commercial property owners assess themselves goes directly into improvements in the District. The BID is an excellent initiative to ensure the continued growth and enhancement of our community, while at the same time helping its individual businesses thrive. As the District is better able to accommodate its visitors, it is only natural that Wynwood becomes a magnet of its own within the urban core of the city. As more pedestrians visit our growing district and walk our streets, more opportunities to engage in business by the local commerce arise.