MIAMI - Twenty-one million people visit Bayside Marketplace every year in downtown Miami, but the iconic open air waterfront mall is just one year shy of its 30th birthday and it needs a makeover.
"We used to have about a 70 percent tourist rate and 30 percent local resident rate," Bayside Marketplace general manager Pamela Weller said. "Now you come downtown at 7 o'clock in the morning and there are people walking dogs and jogging. It is a completely different atmosphere."
With a growing downtown and Biscayne corridor, more and more locals are calling downtown home. Voters approved a lease extension, so the developer will now spend $30 million to renovate Bayside, and they already have cut the city a check for $10 million.
"It was part of the referendum. It was a commitment the new owners made to the city if the voter allowed them to extend the contract," Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said.
The downtown Miami area will also get a makeover with the addition of Skyrise Miami, a 1,000-foot observation tower.
"They are looking at their final plans and they should be building in the next four to six months," Weller said.
Skyrise Miami has done some utilities work. So far, they have put in their new portion of the pier and they have run all of the electrical and sewer, and everything the boat slips need underneath it.
Next up are the actual footings for the building, and that means the marina will be torn down to make way for the massive tower.
The mayor said the company has already pulled permits to put in the pilings and the project is slated to be finished sometime in 2018.
"In London there is the London Eye. In Paris there is the Eiffel Tower, and certainly we want to have iconic structures here in the city of Miami," Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez said.
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