Built on the crest of the 1920s land boom, Biscayne Boulevard was designed to be Miami’s most beautiful shopping street. Royal palms, 900 of them, lined the sidewalks in front of turreted Mediterranean buildings with shops downstairs and apartments above. The standards of beauty were exacting for the stretch between 12th and 36th streets. A city ordinance outlawed gas stations and heavy traffic along Biscayne Boulevard. If downtown was the heart of the city, uptown was where Miami showed off. It was the place to buy a Stutz Bearcat, or the latest fashions, or groceries: Even the Piggly Wiggly supermarket was high style. Then, as Miami grew up and out in the decades after World War II, the boulevard fell on hard times. Shoppers turned to suburban malls. The neighborhoods around Biscayne Boulevard aged and changed. The Omni mall at Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast 14th Street, once home to such retail giants as Jordan Marsh and JC Penney, closed in 1999. In the past 10 years, the area has experienced a redevelopment renaissance with new businesses, restaurants and shops sprouting along the corridor.
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