What’s Happening, Downtown Miami?

December 5th, 2018

As 2018 comes to a close, building developments continue to rise in downtown Miami. New structures are breaking ground in 2019, changing the way we live and travel, while linking us to the past.


It’s been less than a year since Brightline launched its passenger train service here in South Florida and big changes are underway. Recently the railway was acquired by London-based travel company Virgin Group, and will now be rebranded as Virgin Trains USA in 2019. Virgin Group will make a marginal investment in Brightline, which will be managed and operated by Brightline’s executive team and affiliates of Fortress Investment Group.

Brightline launched service between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach this past May. Virgin plans to expand the railway into Orlando and Tampa, and is rumored to be working on building a train station inside Disney World. Virgin has also announced plans to construct a rail system connecting Las Vegas and Southern California.

In addition to running its rail line, Brightline is developing the Miami Central project in the Overtown area of downtown Miami. That area will include 1.6 million square feet of real estate development, with two office towers, two apartment towers, 130,000 square feet of stores and restaurants along with the train station. Financing for this development was two-thirds private equity, one-third private activity bonds.


After the unearthing of the 2,000-year-old Tequesta village in 2013 near the Miami Circle, real-estate developers of Met Square, Miami-based MDM Development Group agreed to preserve and display the archaeological discoveries.

The 43-story tower at 340 SE Third St. is part of a $1 billion project called Metropolitan Miami, developed by MDM. It spans several blocks on SE Third St. between Biscayne Boulevard Way and SE Second Avenue, and will include condos, rental apartments, the Wells Fargo Center, a Whole Foods Market and the JW Marriott hotel.

According to architectural renderings the Miami Circle will remain outdoors, protected with a small glass railing. A second circle is supposed to be preserved at the northeast corner of the building, featuring a gallery open to the public which will be run by HistoryMiami.

-Ursa Gil

Remembering the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre

September 11th, 2018

Actor Burt Reynolds passed away on September 6, 2018 at 82 years old. He was well known for his roles in films such as “Deliverance” and “Smokey and the Bandit.” Reynolds was also a Florida native who founded one of the most famous cultural centers in South Florida, the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre Read More...

Burdines: “The Florida Store”

August 21st, 2018

  [caption id="attachment_3608" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Burdines building looking east along Flagler Street from the intersection with Miami Avenue. Photo courtesy of the State Library and Archives of Florida.[/caption] Before the era of mega malls, there were department stores.  One of the most memorable local department stores in Florida was Burdines Read More...

Sponge Diving at Tarpon Springs

June 5th, 2018

   Spring Bayou.  Photo courtesy of the State Archives of Florida. Tarpon Springs is a quaint little fishing village named after a type of fish that thrived around the waters of the city in the late 19th century. This small town is located on the Anclote River less than a mile from the Gulf of Mexico, is famous as the "sponge capital of the world," and is known for its delectable seafood Read More...

Olympia Theater: Miami’s Cinematic Palace

December 21st, 2017

Construction of the Olympia theater 1925-1926. Photo courtesy of the Florida Archives. Downtown Miami’s transient cityscape is constantly changing. Several of downtown’s original structures have already been demolished to make way for modern office spaces and condominiums. Fortunately, the Olympia Theater is one of the few original Miami landmarks that still remains Read More...

The Dog Days of Summer

August 22nd, 2017

The "dog days of summer" happen to be some of the hottest days in North America. Contrary to popular belief, the phrase has nothing to do with our beloved canine companions. Instead, the phrase "dog days of summer" has roots dating back thousands of years, and is actually associated with the movement of the cosmos Read More...

Iconic Artifacts of the Miami Science Museum

May 4th, 2017

On Monday, May 8, the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science will celebrate its grand opening at its new location at Downtown Miami's Museum Park. On this edition of Learning from Miami,  we bid the old Miami Science museum a fond farewell.  Take a leisurely stroll back in time in the history of Museum Park and look back at some of the original museum’s most cherished artifacts Read More...

Proposed Chinatown Coming to North Miami

April 3rd, 2017

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWKs2DDKSYo&feature=youtu.be News reports featuring the first and second annual Chinese New Year parade in South Florida. Videos courtesy of the Wolfson Archives.    A Chinatown in Miami, why not? It’s no secret that cultural neighborhoods in major cities can be popular tourist destinations Read More...

Presidential Homes of South Florida

February 17th, 2017

In honor of President's Day, Learning from Miami showcases the luxurious South Florida homes of some of America's presidents. Harry Truman’s Key West Retreat President Harry Truman’s Little White House was built in 1890. The edifice functioned as the Key West naval station’s command headquarters during the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II Read More...

Unusual Homes of Florida

January 24th, 2017

Florida homes are extremely diverse, and have been shaped by an eclectic array of different architectural styles. In this edition of Learning from Miami, we visit some very unconventional residences and the people who call these places home.  South Miami Dome Home In this clip, architect Bob Koger, invites WTVJ to tour his energy efficient Geodesic Dome home Read More...