In 2019, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez called for letters of interest to redevelop what is known as the Allapattah GSA lot, 18 acres of public land now being used by several city departments. The parcel on Northwest 20th Street is in the heart of a neighborhood that has recently drawn the interest of developers, for a variety of reasons. Allapattah’s proximity to downtown and the Health District, access to public transportation, and a wonderful cultural diversity, among other attributes, make it an attractive investment. As a result, affordability has recently emerged as a pressing topic, as Allapattah is one of the Miami neighborhoods where rents rose the most during the pandemic.
Because the redevelopment of a parcel of this size will affect the neighborhood for years to come, the Allapattah Collaborative, CDC, Miami Homes for All, and the large Public Land for Public Good Miami Coalition approached the city about ensuring local residents and business owners have a say in the land’s future. The city then verbally committed to partner with community organizations to conduct engagement in the Allapattah community regarding the redevelopment of the lot, and use those findings to inform the Request for Proposal for the GSA lot.
In the summer of 2021, these groups solicited proposals from six companies and ultimately worked with Urban Impact Lab to embark on this public engagement process, ultimately speaking with 117 Allapattah residents and business owners over four diverse engagements. The Allapattah Collaborative, Miami Homes for All, and Urban Impact also solicited and received funding from the the South Florida Health Foundation and Miami Foundation to enact the public engagement process.
The following report provides a snapshot into resident and business owners’ views on Allapattah’s needs and the community’s understanding of the redevelopment occurring in their neighborhood.
Two key insights emerged from this process. First, before being approached, most of the residents interviewed did not know about the GSA lot or the city’s plans for it. However, once they were told about it, most also were eager to be involved in shaping the future of the lot. Perhaps most importantly, the community clearly prioritized the need for more recreational and community spaces for Allapattah, in addition to the need for more affordable housing.