Last week the efforts to launch the Little Havana Business Improvement District (LHBID) scored a major victory when the city approved the application for funding the campaign.

Aside from legitimizing the effort, the approval representing a strong signal from the city Mayor and Commissioners that they are rooting for Little Havana’s continued progress.

The What—What Is A Business Improvement District (BID)

The sole focus of a BID is to improve the neighborhood it encompasses.  The LHBID will be self-created, self-assessing, and self-directed.  BIDs empower communities to overcome the obstacles and frustrations engendered by limited public resources and limited vision, by providing a vehicle for concerted efforts by local business leaders to establish a well-funded, professionally managed, long-term organization that works to incrementally improve the appeal, public perception, and conditions of their district.  Simply put, a BID represents the collective power of the property owners’ ideas, energies, financial resources, and unified community voice for advocacy.

The LHBID initiative begun when Fausto Commercial brought together a collection of some of Calle Ocho’s largest, most influential, but also progressively minded property owners at the end of 2015.  The effort began by feeling out the political channels, and then hitting the streets to meet with property owners and share the vision.  By early May, the initiative compiled a proposal and accompanied it with a substantial collection of letters of support from 15 owners representing over 50 properties this would affect, and submitted it to the city.  The recent approval of funding was a result of that.

The Why—Is It Needed?

We believe that a BID is the best tool available—and the logical next step—to protect and preserve what we most love about Little Havana, while catalyzing Little Havana’s continued economic success and cultural flowering without gentrification and displacement.

Little Havana is one of our great neighborhoods.  You cannot deny the excitement of its vivacity nor its authentic sense of place.  It is also an important piece in the economic picture of Miami.  LH is centric to all our major employment centers, highly walkable and dense, served extremely well by public transit, and retaining great affordability.  Miami need’s urban core neighborhoods that houses its middle and lower income residents, but that are thriving and vital.

A thriving Little Havana is a more robust Miami.

Little Havana is an area with incredible potential, and as much as we are in love with the neighborhood as it is, we are incessantly disappointed by the untapped and unrealized potential that remains.  What most frustrates is that for all its tremendous potential and the overwhelming goodwill showered upon it, Little Havana lacks cohesiveness of its stakeholders and woeful inadequacy to confront its own problems. The way to start seriously confronting the many issues the neighborhood is burdened by, is to create a formal framework for bringing all these exceedingly talented people that own in the area together, in order to discuss the issues the neighborhood faces, problem-solve those issues, and take action to overcome them.

Benefits of a BID:

  1. Coordinated approach to district improvement
  2. Forges a forum for owners to determine common challenges and confront them
  3. Creates a sustainable funding base
  4. Place Management, Leadership, and Advocacy
  5. Increased communication and cooperation between property owners and businesses
  6. Confront growing competition. Quality-of-life issues
  7. Supplement (not replace) municipal services. Fill the gaps of declining public resources
  8. Implement long-term, well-funded improvement plans for the district
  9. Strategic planning for the district
  10. Common, Powerful Voice for Advocacy

The Where–Boundaries

Current planning for the BID will establish the BID along Calle Ocho from 4th Avenue to 27th Avenue, with the possibility of expanding organically into adjacent corridors and cross-streets.  District boundaries of the final BID plan will be established by a Steering Committee of property owners.

The When–Next Steps

We’re anticipating a November ballot.  Until then, the major work of the LHBID initiative is to continue outreach to local property owners, and to continue the conversation that builds consensus amongst property owners about the vision for Little Havana.

The How

In the November election, ballots are sent out to the property owners this measure will effect.  Every folio has one vote.  For the measure to pass, 50% plus one of property owners sent the ballots must indicate support.  An absent vote is considered a nay vote.

Once passed, the efforts become an official, self-sustaining, self-governing entity.


-Carlos Fausto Miranda

May 30, 2016