Transit hub expected to use acres of space in Historic Overtown

Ashley Montgomery | 6/5/2014, 9 a.m.
All Aboard Florida held a press conference Wednesday morning at the future site of their Downtown Miami train station. The ...

All Aboard Florida held a press conference Wednesday morning at the future site of their Downtown Miami train station.

The long-awaited plans have drawn mixed-emotions in the Overtown community. As many already know, the two Miami sites will encompass nearly three million square feet of residential commercial, office, retail, parking which will mostly all located at the Overtown site.

The plan All Aboard Florida devised is to have two intersecting axis running north/south along Government

Center, and east/west from Overtown east. In Overtown the transportation hub will use two acres of space, which were not released at the press conference. Spokesperson for All Aboard Florida says that they are still in the process of finishing renderings for the Overtown stations.

The transit-oriented development encompassing nearly three million square feet will span two sites; a nine-acre transportation hub in downtown Miami just east of Miami-Dade County Hall, and a two-acre site in Historic Overtown.

Along with the All Aboard Florida train stations comes the Overtown Gateway Project which is set to revive historic Black Miami with a three-long-vacant parcel near two historic buildings, the Lyric Theater and Greater Bethel A.M.E. Church.

Led by Don Peebles and Barron Channer, more than $200 million is going into the project, expected to be one of the largest Black-owned real estate development companies in the community.

“I am having mixed emotions about the station’s arrival,” Shiba Clark, an Overtown resident said. “I was born and raised here and I am not sure how I feel about the traffic that will come with this project.”

“All Aboard Florida has conducted significant community involvement and outreach since the project was announced in March 2012,” a spokesperson from All Aboard Florida said.

Over time, All Aboard Florida says that they have hosted and briefed community groups and leaders in Historic Overtown and along the Florida East Coast Railway corridor.

“I am anticipating the arrival of the train station and the Overtown Gateway Project,” Irby McKnight, community activist said. “I do plan to fight for the neighborhood and get as many jobs as I possibly can for the Blacks in the community.”

However, McKnight says that he needs back-up from the Southeast Overtown Park West Community Redevelopment Agency.

“In order to provide economic opportunity to the residents, we need help from the CRA,”McKnight said.

When asked what job opportunities will be made available specifically for Blacks beyond construction — like legal and/or professional services All Aboard Florida said: “

All Aboard Florida will quite literally create thousands of job opportunities during the construction and implementation of the $2.3 billion project. First, we are building a team of highly skilled professionals and encourage everyone to apply for these jobs, which are posted on our website if their qualifications meet those listed. (https://fecicareers.silkroad.com/) Second, we are hosting a DBE/MBE forum with Congresswoman Corrine Brown in Central Florida on June 13 to give professional firms the opportunity to meet and speak with potential prime contractors on the rail construction contracts. We plan to have one in South Florida toward the end of the month and will share information when available. Once prime contracting firms are chosen for the station and rail components, we will also host job fairs for the skilled laborers.”

All Aboard Florida says that they are committed to continue working and meeting with community groups along the corridor as the project progresses.

It was also reported that during the press conference that ground may be broken this year.