The OMNI Neighborhood
Sandwiched between Biscayne Bay and the Flagler East Coast Railway tracks, and just north of downtown Miami, the Omni neighborhood emerged during the boom years as the mercantile district for the City of Miami. Besides warehouses, art deco buildings, and fashionable stores catering to tourists and locals alike, the area also was one of the first to build what we now think of as “workforce” housing in large buildings for rent to everyday workers of the City of Miami. The construction of Biscayne Boulevard, lined with hotels, apartments and department stores made the Omni (then known as Miramar) an exciting destination for shopping.
Construction of the I-395 viaduct split Omni from downtown in the early 70s, and the area began to decline as residents moved to new suburbs. The Omni Mall, (where the neighborhood derives its name) was built in the late 70s, but its failure to welcome locals on foot left it competing with other malls developed further away. By the 90s the Omni was in serious decline and eventually closed. The decision to build the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in the early 2000’s led to the demolition of many remaining buildings for parking, but new zoning laws have allowed a new crop of high-rise residential towers to enliven the area again.
The OMNI neighborhood is home to several significant historic buildings: The former Bacardi headquarters, now the Young Arts Foundation; the Old Firehouse #2, Tomorrowland and the Citizens bank building which is under restoration by the OMNI Community Redevelopment Agency.