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Fall 2011 – More parks, play space coming to Brickell

While neighbors watch the transformation of 1814 Brickell Avenue into a public park, more public greenspace is coming online, thanks to some of Commissioner Sarnoff’s ingenious initiatives.flatironrendering

In late September Brickell residents celebrated the groundbreaking for Flatiron Park (rendering above), followed by the groundbreaking for a playground installation at Brickell Park a week later (left). All three park projects are slated to be completed in this calendar year.

Flatiron Park sits on the triangular slice of land sandwiched between South Miami Avenue and Southeast 1st Avenue, and between Southeast 9th and 11th Streets just south of Mary Brickell Village. (Old-time Brickell folks will remember it as the site on which the Brickell Emporium once sat, an authentic deli-restaurant great for business breakfasts and lunches, and one of a very limited number of eating establishments around at the time.)

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Commissioner Sarnoff at the Flatiron Park groundbreaking in front of one of the boulders that will be shaped into seating in the park.

Flatiron Park will be constructed at no cost to the City of Miami by Brickell Flatiron LLC and its principal, real estate developer Mallory Kauderer, who has promised to keep the park intact for the foreseeable future. Kauderer will eventually move forward with plans to erect a building on the site between Southeast 10th and 11th Streets, but a substantial portion will remain a permanent, publicly accessible park for area residents.

“The Open Space parks initiative created and sponsored by Commissioner Sarnoff and his staff is nothing short of brilliant,” Kauderer said. “With municipalities throughout the country battling budget shortfalls, Commissioner Sarnoff has come up with a plan that has the potential to significantly increase the amount of park space in the City of Miami with almost no cost to taxpayers.”

World-renowned landscape architect Raymond Jungles donated his time and expertise to design the park. Jungles, whose outdoor designs can be seen throughout South Florida, said his company “is thrilled to be creating another urban space that will reintroduce nature into the built environment.”

The site plan features the addition of Silk Floss trees, character Sabal Palms, and a Madagascar Kapok tree while preserving existing Thatch Palm, Live Oak and Royal Poinciana trees. Large oolite boulders will form a platform and benches. Moveable furniture and stainless steel vine cables are also features of the Raymond Jungles design.

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Raymond Jungles, “I love to work on public spaces. We’re all kicking in and doing what we can to make great space here.”

Commissioner Sarnoff began working on the idea of public-private partnerships for greenspace beginning in 2008, he said, but ran into “some impediments that were pretty severe.” Not everything could be worked out, like with the site on Brickell Bay Drive that was going to be a temporary park for a few years. The Commissioner credits Mallory Kauderer for his perseverance to get it done and work through all the city and legal channels.

“Creating public greenspace is the perfect use for land that would otherwise be empty and barren,” said Commissioner Sarnoff. “We hope that Flatiron Park will be an example of what can be done with vacant land to make it more accessible to the public and raise the quality of life for our city’s neighborhoods.”

“We now have a business model and we can move up Biscayne Boulevard,” Commissioner Sarnoff said. “I’m really proud of this initiative. This park is a beacon for Brickellites.”

Welcome news

BHA has been advocating for more parks for much of its two-decade existence. Commissioner Sarnoff has become a chief advocate for the cause, vowing early in his term as commissioner to BHA and moms with strollers that he would find greenspace.

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Real estate developer Mallory Kauderer talks about the site plan for his land where Flatiron Park will be built.

From BHA News, Vol. XXI, No. 3, Fall 2011