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CORAL GABLES CHARRETTE: DOWNTOWN

Coral Gables Retail Report by Seth Harry, Retail Consultant

Overall Strategies

Consolidate and strengthen existing retail environment to build critical mass. Initial efforts should concentrate on a downtown focused on Miracle Mile and bounded by Lejeune Road, Alhambra Circle, Douglas Road and Ponce Circle. Expand outward as demand dictates.

Identify specific merchandizing sub-zones that are physically distinctive, such as "restaurant row," for further development. Trends on Miracle Mile suggest an increasing market for cafés, boutiques, restaurants and some "Main Street" chains such as Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, The Gap. The bridal-oriented shops should form a tighter sub-zone, and arts and crafts-oriented establishments could be recruited for another sub- zone.

Support architectural and zoning regulations that reinforce the "sense-of-place" and his- torical ambiance of downtown Coral Gables. Encourage the creation of an open air, Mediterranean, retail and dining experience: sidewalk cafés with rooftop, balcony and terrace seating, loggias, arcades, colonnades, awnings, canopies and copious plantings.

Pedestrian Enhancements, Streetscape and Design

Develop a new sign code to encourage distinctive and effective signage appropriate to a contemporary main street context.

Pursue architectural and zoning regulations that support a walkable, mixed-use, pedes- trian environment.

Incorporate urban design elements that encourage people to congregate and interact.

Implement streetscape improvements for the Giralda "restaurant row" and begin pilot program of weekend and evening closure of the street. Allow outdoor seating on the sidewalk and street while street is closed. Locate centralized valet station at the intersec- tion of Giralda and Galiano.

Provide a clear and effective wayfinding program to and from all parking areas.

Make mid-block pedestrian passages that are attractive, well lit, clearly marked and safe to facilitate the use of parking garages. Implement enhanced lighting and landscaping for passages, and require storefront windows and entrances to open onto the actual pas- sages. Create wider, plaza-like openings where passages meet streets and sidewalks.

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