Sunday, October 20, 2013

Merrick Park: Gables name change shows Idiocracy at work ... by gimleteye

Back when I cared, I made fun of the name "Village of Merrick Park" to describe the upscale mall across US 1 from my neighborhood. It was 1999 and an OPED I wrote (when I still had a relationship with the Miami Herald) included the following:
Traffic is the Achilles' heel of the Rouse mall, but city commissioners last year ignored the ramifications as the developer and Mayor Valdes-Fauli proceeded with approvals. Now points raised by opponents are acknowledged to be true: There is no hope for improving traffic because the scale of the development absolutely will worsen traffic in adjacent neighborhoods and U.S. 1 intersections.

Le Jeune Road, Ponce de Leon and Bird Road intersections already have level-of-service ratings of F. This is the designation awarded by the Florida Department of Transportation for roadways that are, essentially, hopeless. Common sense would dictate that state law should provide for no additional development approvals that would increase traffic. But that is not the case.
Oh well ... The applicants at the time for the proposed mall were "sensitive" to community complaints about a mall disturbing traffic patterns in their midst. Along with their marketing mavens and other sand-in-your-shoes types, they included "Village" to help connote sensitivity of design and planning. As in, "we are only a village."

Since that time, the shopping center has struggled to find its footing among clients who prefer not to brave the worst traffic access anywhere along US 1. And that is saying a lot! It was all predictable, and at the time I cared enough to take a stopwatch and walk to the corner with LeJeune and measure precisely how few cars make it across the intersection at rush hour. Now I am waiting for FPL to lay high tension distribution lines across my forehead. Just kidding.

Since that time, millions of cars have flowed through the worst traffic intersection in Miami-Dade and the mall, predictably, has struggled. Eye On Miami has followed its progress, if that word can be applied.

Now the mall owners think a more direct approach is needed with consumers. Uh-huh.

The Herald reports, "Coral Gables commissioners touted the city’s recognition in an international United Nations-sanctioned contest that looks for the most livable cities in the world. But first the five-member group agreed that the Village of Merrick Park, the city’s large, open-air mall, could better brand itself with a new name. “Village,” the mall’s general manager Chris Molho said, can lead to confusion among non-locals. “Is it a town?” The new name will be Shops at Merrick Park. “With this name change, it will help us capture those who might not be familiar with Merrick Park. I know Bal Harbour Shops is a shopping center, or Dadeland Mall.” The mall’s studies revealed that only 38 percent of respondents could similarly identify that the Village of Merrick Park contained a shopping component. “Those coming from out of town, South America, Brazil, when they see ‘Shops’ they will know who we are. We don’t want to lose the equity of ‘Merrick Park,’” Molho said.

Whatever. I'll do my shopping at Amazon and imagine I'm floating through a jungle where there are no idiots swinging through the trees. Only monkeys.


Anonymous said...

I remember mixing up Merrick Park with Verrick Park. I couldn't figure out why someone was going to play basketball at a mall!

Anonymous said...

"Cause the only time that I feel at ease
is swinging up and down in the coconut trees
Oh what a life of luxury
To live like an ape man."

The Kinks

The Straw Buyer said...

Allan, you've neglected to mention how the monstrosity that's been built on the old Deel ford property has totally obliterated the flow of traffic in the area.

Anonymous said...

I'm excited the Design District is going to get upscale retail after a $200 million make-over. We are looking a million sq/ft of new retail in the last decade. We need millions more to fill the need of international tourists. Lets keep building more retail for a sustainable future.*

Disclaimer 1: Pay me money and I will lobby for more retail.

Disclaimer 2: I shop online and get free shipping on most my orders.

Anonymous said...

LOL. Someone sold Brooklyn Bridge to LVMH. (Design District? Yes the retail market is really hopping right now!)

Gimleteye said...

I try to pretend it's not happening.

Gimleteye said...


Anonymous said...

The City of Miami lead by soon-to-be-out-of-work Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones want rename up to 14 historic Afro-American historic neighborhoods after Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Never mind that most Haitian immigrants live in N. Miami and that tourists are instructed to avoid Miami's ghettos.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget, proposed Miami Beach convention center renovation would add another 60,000 – 80,000 square feet of retail space. Just what the world needed.

Anonymous said...

Hey Straw Buyer,

Bite your tongue! That monstrosity that's been built on the old Deel Ford property that totally obliterated the flow of traffic in the area, IS NEW URBANISM. This is what your pal, Mayor Stoddard of South Miami and his squat, bike-riding, corrupt little friends envision for South Miami too. Unlike the $2,200 the per month rent at Gables-Ponce though, South Miami will cater to the low income masses ($250 per month). This is the new reality, get used to it. Get a bike!

Anonymous said...

Spence-Jones wants to re-name the Design District as Little Haiti.

Anonymous said...

Who has money to spend these days?

Anonymous said...

Spence-Jones is about to be a disgraced ex-commissioner. Bad news is the taxpayers are forced to give her a $2 Mil pension.