Daniel Buren-designed pedestrian bridge unveiled for entrance to Miami Beach

Developers Russell Galbut and David Martin unveiled the much-anticipated design for the 5th Street pedestrian bridge, a colorful tube conceived by renowned French artist Daniel Buren, to be constructed at one of the entrances to Miami Beach. Miami Beach Canopy, a work in-situ, includes colorful glass panels “to evoke a space that is literally painted with light” using sunlight “to illuminate a transparent cylinder that will take pedestrians across a rainbow of colorful shadows” according to the description provided by the developers. Open panels provide views to the water throughout the tunnel.

The General Obligation Bond supported by voters in November includes $10 million for the bridge. Commissioner Mark Samuelian said the design will be a “nice GO Bond showcase” for residents.

July 17, 2019 | RE: Miami Beach | Daniel Buren-designed pedestrian bridge unveiled for entrance to Miami Beach

Mayor Names New Panel on Ocean Drive

Mark Samuelian, the other Commissioner named to the group, has spent a lot of time focusing on Ocean Drive since his election along with Gelber. “I’m really excited about what we’re doing on Ocean Drive and where we’re heading and I think this Panel is going to be a very important contributor. I think it’s fair to say that what we want to do is really enhance the overall experience and environment on Ocean Drive.”

Samuelian also cited progress including the adoption of his menu ordinance requiring disclosure of restaurant meal and drink pricing prominently displayed. “That has really, I think, begun to elevate the game of some of the operators. Some of the operators with problems with customer service are no longer operating or are not operating with sidewalk cafés,” he said.

He also noted the off-duty police program operated in conjunction with the Ocean Drive businesses for a pilot period, the recent noise ordinances sponsored by Gelber, and the plans for the Business Improvement District.

“All those things are steps in the right direction,” Samuelian said, “but I still think we have more to do.” The new panelists, he said, will consider ideas that have been considered before as well as “some new ideas about how do we take Ocean Drive and bring it back to its glory,” a place where tourists have a good experience and that residents want to frequent.

Like Arriola, he noted the potential of the G.O. Bond to infuse significant investment into the area to upgrade the infrastructure and improve public safety.

“I think Ocean Drive really is the heart of Miami Beach in a lot of ways. It’s certainly the place that’s recognized, that a lot of people come to. I recognize the importance of it.” That said, Samuelian added, “I was not comfortable with the experiences that certain customers were having. I saw it with my own eyes and ears. I heard it. And I saw it online and I was not comfortable… We have a lot of good operators on Ocean Drive but I think it’s fair to say we had some bad apples.”

November 2, 2018 | RE: Miami Beach | Mayor Names New Panel on Ocean Drive

North Beach Town Center plans stretch skyward

“For better or worse, probably worse, something was said to the community where 125 feet got locked into,” said Commissioner Mark Samuelian.

“Unfortunately, that is in the public mind. Having said that, we have to do now what we think is best.”

October 2, 2018 | Miami Today | North Beach Town Center plans stretch skyward

North Beach Town Center: Still Debating Development Guidelines

Commissioner Mark Samuelian said he thinks it is important that all projects contribute to a public benefit fund. He said he supported some incentive, but maybe through a discounted fee to ensure all projects contributed. He also said he wanted to “raise the bar” and require an “elevated” level of stormwater retention rather than offering that as a public benefit contribution.

Samuelian said he can see discounts to the “public benefit as a catalyst” and said he was open to “land on a number at 3 plus” per square foot. “If we do want to have incentives for development it seems rational to me that you pay less. I think that’s a big lever to get stuff going, to reduce the amount of the benefit.”

As the discussion wound to a close, Samuelian said, “One thing people said is they want us to move forward.” He proposed increasing the public benefit fee recommended by the consultant and to use a “discount as a catalyst” to move development forward. He also reiterated his desire to have more robust requirements for stormwater retention and reuse.

September 29, 2018 | RE: Miami Beach | North Beach Town Center: Still Debating Development Guidelines

G.O. Bond Will Total $439,000,000

“I think the action on the Inspector General which will be at the same time is related,” Commissioner Mark Samuelian added. “Hopefully the residents will see that as a wonderful step for government. They, hopefully, will see that that will add transparency and accountability to the GO Bond so I actually think there’s some positive connectivity of those two so I’ll support this today.”

Samuelian, one of the critics of the City’s plan to elevate roads said, “I have not been shy about my concerns about aspects of our stormwater management program. I have been very clear that we need enhanced planning, more external views, blue and green infrastructure. I’ve also been very direct about my concerns with road raising. Having said that, this bond provides us the opportunity to continue to improve what we’re doing. We cannot stop. We need to improve as we go and without the capital we wouldn’t be able to do the good things that as a group we’ve started to move through with so I’ll be supportive of this today.”

July 29, 2018 | RE: Miami Beach | G.O. Bond Will Total $439,000,000