Tag Archives: Fresh Market

Fresh Market opens in Sunset Harbour

Doors to the Fresh Market opened at 7:30 a.m.

With a strong scent of ground, fresh-brewed coffee and grilled bacon and French toast, the new Fresh Market grocery opened Wednesday  morning in Sunset Harbour at 1800 West Avenue.

A look at the produce section.

The store is huge — 24,000 square feet — with a large section of fresh fruit and vegetables, a meat and seafood market, aisles of wines, bulk candy and nuts, gourmet coffee and a massive prepared food area in the center of the store.

The opening was noted in a Miami Herald business story Wednesday that focused on the restaurant and retail boom in the Sunset Harbour neighborhood, including the transition of Mark’s Cleaners and the proposal to build a bridge over the Collins Canal on West Avenue to link the  area south of 17th Street.

The impact of Fresh Market on our neighborhood should be interesting. The new building has a parking garage above (and parking is sadly lacking in the neighborhood), and the prepared foods and fresh produce could pose real competition to both Publix and Epicure.

Looks good enough to eat.

Get your kabob on.

The produce prices were competitive with Publix (Campari tomatos $3.99 a box, the same as where shopping is a pleasure and fresh red grapefruit were $1  a piece. Of course, it’s much cheaper than Epicure, and the prepared food looked excellent.

The store is providing samples of some specialties today from the bakery (it offers 14 daily pie varieties and 30 different baked breads) and other treats, as well as drawings for gift cards.

The area around the store is still a big of a mess — and some streets were closed to traffic Wednesday morning as workers cleaned up construction debris and patched the construction-blemished asphalt on 18th Str.

It will take a while to clean up that mess, but the chain-link fencing around the street corner should come down soon.

A big wine selection in an attractive, open floor plan.

Your arteries might harden just looking at this stuff.

The bulk food isle.

Fresh Market to open Wednesday morning

Forgive your  blog for mentioning this if you are still too full from the Thanksgiving feast to appreciate it, but:

Fresh Market, the upscale food store positioned literally and figuratively between Publix and Epicure, holds its grand opening Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m.

The store, at 1800 West Ave., has been under construction for nearly 18 months (in fact, news of its construction was one of the first posts by the Belle Isle Blog).

What should you expect? An excellent produce section and meat market,  lots of different gourmet coffee and bulk snacks — from raw cashews to to trail mixes and dried fruit and pretzels.

The wine section is large and varied, and Fresh Market is known for a large prepared food area, too — probably why Publix upgraded its selection down the street.

Price-wise, the North Carolina-based specialty grocer is a little more expensive than Publix, but cheaper than Epicure. It will be interesting to see how the competition responds.

FDOT presents West Avenue bridge options and fields a request for a no-car crossing

Examining the exhibits at the West Avenue Bridge meeting.

When the Florida  Department of Transportation heard neighborhood feedback Tuesday on alternative plans for a bridge linking West Avenue over the Collins Canal17th Street, the clearest message came from people who feared the bridge would turn the neighborhood into a shortcut for avoiding Alton Road.

FDOT public information officer Yvette Holt asked the crowd of about 50 residents from the Sunset Harbour, West Avenue, North Bay Road and Belle Isle neighborhoods what they thought was the best option of many discussed at the two-hour meeting. The largest group — about one-third of those attending — said they preferred a bridge that only served pedestrians, runners and bicyclists.

Proposed path for the West Avenue Bridge.

Their fear: that the proposed bridge would serve as an alternative to congested Alton Road, and the growing but quiet Sunset Harbour neighborhood would shift from a destination for neighborhood restaurants and stores to pass-through for commuters.

FDOT consultant  Jose Lavell, the deputy project manager, gave an overview of the planning process for the proposed bridge, which began with a study in 2007 and is now in its public input and design alternative study phase.

FDOT has a website on the bridge project, which will be updated with materials shown at the meeting. The site also can be used by residents to submit questions for the planners, Holt said.

If the process moves forward toward building a bridge — something the Miami Beach City Commission will ultimately decide — the design phase would happen in 2013 and there would be one to two years of construction. So if a bridge is built, it won’t be in place  until 2014 or 2015.

Tuesday’s meeting was the second held to tap neighborhood sentiment about the bridge. There will be more, Lavell said.

“We want as much feedback as possible,” he said.

He received plenty.

In a PowerPoint, FDOT showed four options for the bridge. All include at least two lanes for cars, a bike lane north and south, and eight-foot-wide sidewalks on either side. They varied in the number of vehicle lanes based on how traffic would be allowed to  turn off West on 17th Street and Dade Boulevard. They ranged in cost (estimated, of course) from $3.9 million to about $4.7 million.

The four bridge alternatives, from two lanes to five.

Feedback was frequent, pointed, and driven from the perspective of the different neighborhoods. Most focused on concerns that a bridge connecting West Avenue would lure drivers trying to avoid heavy traffic on Alton Road.

Two residents of the lower North Bay Road neighborhood (north of 20th Street) said they supported the bridge, but only if the south end of Bay Road — near the entrance to Sunset Islands and Mark’s Cleaners — is only for traffic leaving North Bay Road.

“What we want to see at the south end of North Bay Road is an exit only,” said lower Bay Road resident Mark Ausley. “Otherwise it would be disasterous to our neighborhood” because of drivers heading north to avoid Alton Road.

A representative of the Sunset Harbour condo association said his neighbors support the bridge because Purdy Avenue already serves as the cut-through to avoid Alton, and this would divert some of it. He said the upcoming opening of Fresh Market and the new city parking garage, there will be even more traffic in the neighborhood and this would help relieve the congestion.

And Michael Comras, a business owner at 1261 20th St., said he also backed the bridge.

“This is no longer a sleepy little area,” he said. “It’s all about balance.  With Fresh Market, the new parking garage, the area will be very constricted. It’s all about a compromise.”

But residents of the Sunset Harbour Townhouses, on 20th Street, said they worry the bridge will bring traffic through the center of the neighborhood only to collect where West Avenue ends — right at their front door.

Another Sunset Harbour Townhouse resident, Nina Boniske, said planners would spoil the neighborhood with the bridge.

“What makes this neighborhood unique is that it is an enclave, she said “It is a natural enclave. The minute you put the bridge in here all you are doing is moving traffic from one road to another. If you are just looking to help the Beach have more bicycle and pedestrian access, this won’t do it.”

Boniske said the area can advance without the bridge.

“If you use the existing  roadways and reconfigure them, and increase green space, you can keep the neighborhood enclave,’ she said. “We are as a thriving commercial area already without having this access, without having parking.”

Mark Wohl, who lives in a condo at 1688 West Avenue, where it currently ends at 17th Street, said FDOT and the city haven’t  listened enough to resident input and been open to alternatives to the bridge. He criticized the current construction at Dade Boulevard and Bay Road, where a concrete median has been installed to prevent westbound drivers on Dade from turning right on to Bay.

Lavell said there are a variety of tools that can be deployed to slow traffic on the bridge, and to prevent drivers from using the bridge — and the neighborhood to avoid Alton Road. Few lanes, no left or right turns at 17th Street or Dade Boulevard, traffic calming devices — all could have an impact.

FDOT also could propose is no bridge at all, he said.

Cost projections

Miami Beach can visualize a bridge over West Avenue — and so can you

City map showing path of proposed West Avenue bridge

If you’ve dreamed of a bridge crossing the Collins Canal to link West Avenue behind Epicure and Ace Hardware with the exciting neighborhood emerging at Sunset Harbor — with its good new restaurants and soon-to-open Fresh Market and reliable Publix — you can wake up soon.

Miami Beach is moving forward with its study of the West Avenue Bridge, after approving the spending of $698,000 on planning back in April.

On Tuesday, Sept. 13, the city is holding a community meeting to present plans for the project. It happens from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Miami Beach Golf Club, 2301 Alton Rd. Public input is invited.

The city has a website set up with maps of the bridge and areas of impact, as well as renderings of what it would look like.

The bridge would make travel simpler across 17th Street and Dade Boulevard between the West Avenue area south of 17 and Sunset Harbor. Currently, drivers and bicyclists either have to use congested Alton road or Purdy Avenue.

According to the project timeline, various studies — environmental and engineering — will take place between now and July 2012, and the city would then have to approve the actual construction.

The ballpark for construction cost is $5 million.

(Thanks to BelleIsleBlog reader CF for the heads-up on the city’s progress).

West Avenue dead-ends at the Collins Canal.

Sunrise on Sunset Harbour: Morgans opens, Fresh Market gets closer and more

The Morgans logo on Purdy Avenue.

There’s progress on Purdy!

Morgans on the Beach, 1787 Purdy Ave., opened quietly on Thursday night, and diners during the weekend gave rave reviews.

Joe Allen, the neighborhood staple, was always dark, with curtains covering the windows to the street and bay views across Maurice Gibb Memorial Park. But Morgans management let in the light, and it makes an amazing difference.

Progress at the Fresh Market, 1800 West Ave. (courtesy David Leeds)

A block away, the under-construction Fresh Market is taking shape toward a possible October opening. The market, 1800 West Ave., already has a manager, Ovidio Cuervo, named by Fresh Market in Greensboro, N.C.

And there is a Spanish restaurant nearing an opening in the old Picnic space at Bay Road and 20th Street. That space has hosted two failed ventures. Picnic was lousy, and Sea Rock was just too loud for dinner.

The new place looks great through the window. We’ll see.

Fresh Market store planned across from Belle Isle

Foodie alert: There’s going to be a Fresh Market specialty grocery just across the bridge from Belle Isle.

The Miami Beach City Commission approved the permit for the store construction Wednesday. It’s to be built at 1800 West Ave., on the cleared site that used to house the Tomas Maier boutique. (Tomas Maier moved to the Design District.)

Fresh Market has locations in Coconut Grove, Aventura and Pembroke Pines. The store has good fresh produce, a big wine section, lots of bulk nuts, snacks and coffees, and a nice cheese, deli and prepared foods area. It’s a step between Publix and Epicure, both in price and culinary quality.

Papers filed with the city describe a three-story grocery, with canopies providing shade and shelter over the sidewalks. Check out the location on the Belle Isle tracking map by dragging to the left (and moving the map east).

Your Belle Isle Blog is seeking a projected opening date from the Fresh Market folks (based in Carolina), but figure late 2011 at the earliest. We’ll update when we get more info.

Meanwhile, Majestic Realty has broken out the exclamation marks to hawk an adjacent property at 1330 18th St. for $2.2 million. Fresh Market Breaks Ground In South Beach!!, says their Craiglist ad. Available Properties Near Flagship Market!!!