After who-the-hell-knows-how-long of nothing happening to the torn up Espanola Way, one of Miami Beach’s most iconic architectural compositions, things have finally begun moving forward with its conversion to a completely pedestrian environment.
Espanola Way is a narrow and quaint street slipping its way about six or seven blocks through South Beach’s historic Miami Beach Architectural District, but it’s also a block and a half long unified Mediterranean Revival architectural composition. Known technically as the ‘Spanish Village’ or ‘Old Spanish Village,’ this part was originally built in the booming 1920s by N. B. T. Roney (short for Newton Baker Tylor Roney), the man who built the famed and long-gone Roney Plaza hotel around the same time. The Roney was located where the 1 Hotel & Homes is now, not too far away.
Anywho, now that the history lesson’s over, back to business. We originally wrote about the pedestrianization of the Spanish Village section of Espanola back in October, when The Big Bubble was still called Sean of Miami, and construction fencing surrounded the block. It took the City of Miami Beach months and months to really begin work though, ripping the asphalt street bed out, and then basically doing nothing, with construction stalling and the road being in shambles straight through the middle of the tourist season. In March we pointed that mess out.
On top of that, one of the Spanish Village’s colonnades was even damaged and just left unchecked until very recently, when BOOM, the city finally concreted over the whole block. And that’s where we are now. It’s definitely not done. The paving down the center of the road is obviously incomplete, and the sidewalks need work, probably including painting, too. But at least we’re no longer trudging down a dirt road, or now that the rainy season is starting, a muddy one. Oh and that lovely historic colonnade has been repaired as well.