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Sun Times Feature Story

South Florida Sun Times 7/12/2018

Dixie Corridor Is Becoming

A Popular Destination

Once Avoided By Many Because of the Rundown Businesses & Heavy Traffic, Things Are Changing In Aventura/North Miami-Dade

By Larry Blustein
Aventura - It is a road that many have avoided through the the years.

From Ives Dairy Road to the North - right down to North Miami Beach - where 163rd Street has long been a hub for businesses - this stretch of road that some have called the “Dixie Corridor” has indeed had a reputation for not being the road that would be the first choice to take. But things are changing - in a major way.

As Aventura is always looking to add to its prestigious address - the neighboring Dixie Highway was certainly the perfect place to start - and over the past few years - people are putting their money where their mouth is.

“I have lived over here in this area for 11 years and things started to get worse,” Grant Bell said. “Dixie Highway was nothing more than a road that never attracted anyone there - if they didn’t have to be. But I have to admit that things are changing.”

From the north, heading south, businesses and residents have started to pop up - giving this one-time home to trailer parks and factories a much different feel to it.

With projects like the Beacon Tower (20508 W Dixie Hwy.) and several new residences, this is an area that has truly started to form and have attracted new service businesses - such as beauty salons and barbers as well as sandwich shops.

“We just bought a place right up the road and so far I am really pleased at the way things are taking shape,” Eric Brown said. “You hear different things about what is planned, but so far, I will not complain. Another 2-3 years and this will no longer be the “place across the tracks.”

Perhaps the area that can benefit the most from the positive growth is Ojus. This community has been in place longer than any city in the area - and that old time feel can still be experienced in some of the older homes and “mom and pop” businesses that line West Dixie Highway in both directions.

Albert Morris has owned his family business right in the heart of the Dixie Corridor since 1975. Mainly dealing in alterations and fittings - as well as repair to garments - Morris has watched change, but he admits that it has taken a long time.

“We joke about Aventura not having any more land to develop, so they are coming this way,” Morris explained. “What it does is benefit all of us because there are going to be more people. That is certainly a major plus.”

What is not a major plus is the traffic that will build up on top of the already congested street that is impossible to move in the morning - as kids are dropped off at school - or late during rush hour when it could be a 5 or 6 light change to get through at Miami Gardens Drive.

Morris said that when he started to see development of buildings and new businesses, he was hesitant to call it a successful idea, and he still has his reservations.

“What has to happen are two different things,” Morris explained. “First and foremost, there has to be a cut-over from Dixie on to U.S. up around the bend where the lumber place was,” he explained. “If not - especially with all the new residential communities and businesses popping up - it will be a disaster.”

“The other thing that I feel is a must is to have a foot bridge built - with a bus stop that will take a lot of the burden from the traffic,” Morris continued. “I am really looking forward to the progress.”

Part of the Dixie Corridor includes that stretch of road between Miami Gardens Drive and 163rd Street. That is where a number of businesses as well as business and residential developments are starting to pop up.

Restaurants, shopping and services dot this portion of street - with an emphasis on growth in the community.

In business at the start of the Dixie Corridor for six decades, Laurenzo’s Italian Market is going to be one of the many locally-run business that will benefit from seeing more people who will be looking to stay in the community to do their shopping.

“This is very exciting for us - because having new clientele is always going to be a win/win,” said Owner David Laurenzo. “While we have our core of customers who have been with us for decades and decades, it’s these new developments will many who have never heard of us before.”

For years, it has been an area that many try to avoid, but now with the positive growth and a new look, the Dixie Corridor will certainly be a destination that will attract a new base of locals.

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