Tuesday October 2, 2007

“Yet, despite this, there are those that recall the past failure of the much hyped Omni Mall when considering Midtown’s prospects for success. However natural this historic allusion may seem, the Omni, which never had the residential component Midtown has, is currently owned by a New York-based firm with billion dollar plans that span 10-15 years. Suffice to say times have changed.” Fine, but I still say that Midtown is no fun. The parking, even with validation, is a hassle. There’s no air conditioned part to the mall where you can just hang out. And they really, really need a big bookstore to make it the destination they so clearly want it to be.

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  1. Shawn    Tue Oct 2, 10:46 AM #  

    A movie theater in Midtown would be nice, too. Even if it were an indie type theater.

    But you are right, it needs to be more than just shopping and more of a destination.



  2. otto    Tue Oct 2, 10:57 AM #  

    unfortunately it looks like history is repeating itself. I hear a JC Penny is heading there… I think there was a JC Penny in the Old Omni… can anyone confirm?



  3. b.a.c.    Tue Oct 2, 11:03 AM #  

    Some cooling fans in the pasageways can fix the heat issue Alesh. The Falls doesn’t have any AC does it? And yes, a nice books and books or one of those corporate type bookies should open shop. And a theatre would be great, indie or muvico.



  4. Xavier    Tue Oct 2, 11:33 AM #  

    A bookstore would be an excellent addition. So would a movie theater, although that comes with its drawbacks. Still, you’re right, Midtown is no fun. You can shop, but you can’t chill and take in an experience. Let’s hope this’ll change.



  5. Duran    Tue Oct 2, 11:48 AM #  

    An indie movie theater is moving in a few blocks north in the Design District. What Midtown needs more of is a good mix of mid-priced and high-end shops with everyone’s favorite big box stores. Right now its just a bunch of your crappy usual suspects. The only two stores anyone has made a fuss about is Target and West Elm.

    Also, I don’t think the open air is an issue. Sunset Place, the Falls, Merrick Park, Bal Harbour and Lincoln Road are all successful open air malls. I agree though that more cafes and restaurants need to move in so it can be a livelier place.

    But remember people, these things take time. The area still doesn’t have enough residents to support such a large project. When the Uptown areas start attracting more residents you’ll really start to see it blossom.



  6. DJ_Kremlin    Tue Oct 2, 01:32 PM #  

    Movie theater will attract the ghetto trash.



  7. Shawn    Tue Oct 2, 01:40 PM #  

    I heard that indie movie theater in the design district is like 10 years from coming to fruition. Anyone know more about it?



  8. otto    Tue Oct 2, 02:49 PM #  

    The issue with new restaurants and cafe’s is that since there were never any located on that site previously, they must fork up a large impact fee to the City of Miami. This is what stops most mom and pop restaurants from starting in a mall. Only large corporations like “Cheesecake Factory” and “Chilli’s” can afford the $30K Plus impact fees, before construction even begins.

    As for the indie theater… we had the Mercury near Soyka’s a few years ago and they didn’t get the support they needed to survive. Unless Dacra or the Moore Space subsidizes the theater the rents are way too high to sustain anything for too long.



  9. Duran    Tue Oct 2, 03:17 PM #  

    It is said that Living Room Theaters (http://www.livingroomtheaters.com/) will build a small multi-screen theater, on the site of where… well that oversized living room is on North Miami Ave. The living room is the only part remaining, they already destroyed the main building which leads me to believe they will start construction soon.



  10. Steve    Tue Oct 2, 04:01 PM #  

    Zoning restrictions prohibit the establishment of bookstores within 1,200 feet of a Miami-Dade County Public School administration facility, so that won’t happen at the Omni, positioned as it is so closely to the M-DCPS HQ.

    Rationale is that school district employees might be tempted to wander over, start browsing, and actually learn something sensible. Can’t risk letting that happen with school personnel.

    A small indoor playground would be okay, though.



  11. Duran    Tue Oct 2, 05:09 PM #  

    Steve is this law for real, or are you taking advantage of my gullible nature?



  12. Alex    Tue Oct 2, 09:08 PM #  

    Steve, don’t forget there’s also the risk that the bookstore carries “Vamos a Cuba” or any other communist indoctrination textbooks. Pederasts and books, the farther away from schools the better.

    I hear the Living Room Theater is about to start construction. But they have been saying that for a while…



  13. Tamara    Wed Oct 3, 12:01 PM #  

    A bookstore, a decent coffee shop, a Whole Foods…That would pretty much make Midtown paradise for me. I’m pretty easy to please. Sad, isn’t it?

    Right now, all Midtown offers is a selection of stores to buy cheap clothing, cheap household items and cheap pet food. (OK, the last one is admittedly convenient).



  14. DINO    Wed Oct 3, 03:12 PM #  

    I grew up going to the Omni. In the early 80’s they had an indoor carnival with quite a few rides and a great Carousel which operated until the Omni closed. The Omni had 2 separate movie theatres, a large gaming arcade, a pretty large food court, a JC Penny, and the usual mall type offerings. When first opened, the Omni actually attracted people from as far as Kendall and North Miami. The early years were great but by the late 80’s and early 90’s, Bayside and the malls in the burbs were draining the Omni. The majority of people that frequented the Omni towards the end were local kids and tourists. Stores were closing left and right and it became the site of frequent fights, robberies, etc. Things got really out of hand. I actually remember lighting up a blunt with my friends inside the movie theatre and no-one gave us any shit about it. I also remember watching “Natural Born Killers” at the Omni in 94’ and some crazy ass group of kids pushed a shopping cart down the theatre aisle! It’s safe to say the Omni had become a pretty wild place. You definitely felt like you had to watch your back. When the movie theatre in Aventura and the beach opened up all the local cats started heading out there. If they open an AMC or Regal theatre in the Midtown area you’re definitely going to have to deal with the young adults from wynwood and overtown; so DJ_KREMLIN, you better get used to it brotha!



  15. Duran    Wed Oct 3, 05:03 PM #  

    Dino I was going to the Omni’s AMC Theater pretty much until Aventura opened it’s AMC Theater with stadium seating (back then it was still a novelty). I don’t remember it ever being as lawless as you described. I do agree plenty of stores moved out the last few years. I remember walking around and every other store was empty or doing a clearance sale. Though I think if Omni were to come back now, it could survive if someone really knew what to do with it and find a market. Perhaps bringing back Omni as the Bal Harbour or Merrick Park for Downtown/Midtown.



  16. alesh    Wed Oct 3, 08:23 PM #  

    Wow, good story. I remember the last days of the OMNI as very sad, sort of an indoor ghost town in earth-toned tiles.

    I think IFAC has purchased the OMNI in hopes of somehow turning it into a campus. Not sure how that would work (is working?), but it’d be difficult to bring it back as a mall, what with Bayside down the street a few blocks and a lot more fun.

    I think the OMNI’s failure was one or architecture — it’s a mid-century modern beige box from the outside, the opposite of inviting. Once you got inside it was well designed (as I recall) but from the outside — exactly uninviting.



  17. otto    Wed Oct 3, 11:54 PM #  

    The Parking lot is the biggest maze I have ever seen. It make no sense!



  18. harumi    Thu Oct 4, 10:48 AM #  

    almost every mall in miami carries same store. If Omni had some store none of other malls carry, it would be nice. for example, H&M, Ikea, trader’s joe etc…
    then I will difinatly travel from hollywood to visit there.