New Town Square

Performing Arts Center Trust, Inc., (PACT) d/b/a the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County

Funding Received: 2011
Miami, FL
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
February 4, 2014

One of the proposed designs for a downtown Miami “signature bridge"

Does downtown Miami deserve a signature bridge?
Thanks to the efforts of the Arsht Center’s Office of Neighborhood Development and the volunteer members of the Town Square Neighborhood Development Corp., the city’s arts organizations will have a say in the matter.

Responding to pressure from City of Miami officials and Arsht Center supporters, Florida Governor Rick Scott has announced that the state will now seek a “signature bridge;” not the “plain vanilla, stripped-down” plan posed by the Florida Department of Transportation last year as part of the reconstruction of the Interstate 395 overpass and bridge that runs past the Arsht Center, connecting mainland Miami to Miami Beach.

A new agreement calls for the state to increase spending on the bridge, from $550 million to $600 million. It also calls for a five-member advisory panel to study plans on how the bridge should be built, and ultimately give a recommendation. A representative from the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County will sit on the panel.


The current I-395 bridge that runs past the Arsht Center is low-hanging and noisy, discouraging neighborhood walkability

What’s so important about a bridge?
Along with creating a significant architectural symbol for the city as Golden Gate Bridge does for San Francisco or the Tower Bridge does for London, advocates for the Arsht Center’s evolving downtown neighborhood hope the bridge will be tall enough to encourage pedestrian traffic underneath and enhance the area’s walkability. Noise and proximity to the Arsht Center also are concerns. The current, low-hanging bridge that straddles Biscayne Boulevard is noisy and discourages walking between the Arsht Center, nearby Museum Park and American Airlines Arena, and the new restaurants and condos starting to pop up in the neighborhood.

The state’s about-face in favor of a signature bridge and the Arsht Center’s involvement on the new advisory panel show how influential and respected the arts organization has become in guiding its neighborhood development. Since the Arsht Center opened in 2006, more than $2 billion in private real estate investments in the once-barren area have occurred. As part of its New Town Square initiative, the Center is working to ensure the arts remain the key driver and focus of the neighborhood.