MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It is an architectural gem in the heart of downtown Miami, on the National Historic Register, and sitting right in the midst of the revamp of Miami’s downtown Flagler Street.
You’d think the old building would be a candidate for demolition replaced by a skyscraper, condo or hotel but that is not the case.READ MORE: Florida Backs Effort To Draw FIFA To Miami, Orlando
“We are developers very focused on helping adaptive use, repurposing use of the historic fabric of the cultural and significance of the area,” said Daniel Pena Giraldi, from the Stambul Construction Company.
Built in 1936, the Walgreens building boasts unique architecture created to resemble a cruise ship both outside and inside.
Historic photos show the deck-like floors.
“Mr. Walgreen was in love with ships,” says Pena Giraldi, “When you walk in you can see the different decks.”
The plans call for an innovative mix of new restaurants, bars, and office space to be known as Julia & Henry’s.READ MORE: Prices At The Pump Creep Lower, Forecast To Tumble Below $3 A Gallon Soon, Government Forecasts
The establishment’s name honors Julia Tuttle and Henry Flagler, widely considered the mother and father of Miami.
According to Pena Giraldi, “with a bar on every floor, you have music you have food stalls throughout the store and a stage for entertainment.”
The hope is “Julia and Henry’s” will serve as a centerpiece in the redevelopment of downtown which has already seen bars and restaurants open, hotels and condos are part of the mix and an ongoing upgrade of Flagler street.
“After 6 p.m., downtown used to be a dead zone, now you see a lot of activity at night,” said Pena Giraldi.
Plans call for a rooftop restaurant and renovation of the basement which back in the day was a speakeasy said to have been frequented by gangster Al Capone and the developers say the speakeasy will live again.
“We have the highest density on the east coast next to Manhattan,” Pena Giraldi is quick to say, meaning there are plenty of potential customers living right in the area. Those high-rise buildings are full of potential patrons.MORE NEWS: Record Warmth In South Florida And This Is What's Causing It
“Downtown has changed a lot and we are trying to stimulate that,” he adds.