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American Planning Association Presents National Achievement Award to Akerman, Wynwood BID, City of Miami and PlusUrbia for Wynwood Efforts
Firm assists client in creating Wynwood’s first Neighborhood Revitalization District, honored for economic development planning
May 2, 2017
The American Planning Association (APA) has selected the Wynwood Neighborhood Revitalization District (NRD) to be honored with the 2017 National Planning Achievement Award for Economic Development Planning. The prestigious award recognizes the collaborative work of the Wynwood Business Improvement District (BID) and Akerman, the City of Miami and PlusUrbia Design in creating the city's first NRD in Wynwood.

The award recipients are set to receive the award during the APA's National Planning Conference on Monday, May 8, 2017 in New York City. Each year, the awards jury for the APA recognizes an effort that has accomplished positive changes to a community as a result of state-of-the-art planning.

The APA cited how the Wynwood NRD plan allowed for the remarkable transformation of an area dominated by light manufacturing and warehouses into a diverse, 24-hour mixed-use arts neighborhood with pedestrian-friendly streets, transit access and ample green space. It also noted zoning changes that balance the needs of Wynwood's existing industry, the burgeoning arts district and future residential and commercial demand. The NRD plan also stood out to the awards jury for the creative use of a localized transfer development rights program to help raise property values, provide open public space and ensure affordable housing and working-class jobs are prevalent in the neighborhood.

PlusUrbia produced an initial study with development recommendations for the Wynwood BID, while Akerman represented the BID in drafting land-use regulations and facilitating the adoption of the NRD-1 legislation. This included the creation of a parking trust fund and localized public benefits fund to generate investment in Wynwood's public realm through private sector contributions.

Akerman's work was spearheaded by Partner Steven Wernick of the firm's Real Estate Practice Group. His role was pivotal in developing and fine-tuning the multi-pronged legislation, with expertise and established trust within municipal government agencies and a strong understanding of acceptable tradeoffs of incentives and regulations that would be embraced by private property owners. The team also included Associate Nicholas Barshel and Urban Planner Maeve Desmond.

"We congratulate our client, the Wynwood BID, for setting a tremendous example of consensus building and neighborhood revitalization to urban communities that serves as a model for the rest of the nation," said Wernick. "Our team at Akerman continues to be passionate about our role in facilitating redevelopment through creative zoning and policy initiatives in Miami's emerging neighborhoods. We take immense pride in the continued revitalization of Wynwood and the preservation of its character, artistic integrity and walkable streets."  

Akerman's land use and development team in Miami includes lawyers and planners working on many of South Florida's largest and transformational development projects, including Brickell City Centre, the Faena District and the Miami Design District, among others.

About Akerman LLP
Akerman LLP is a leading transactions and trial law firm known for its core strengths in middle market M&A, within the financial services and real estate industries, and for a diverse Latin America practice. With more than 650 lawyers and government affairs professionals and a network of 24 offices, it is ranked among the top 100 law firms in the United States by The American Lawyer (2017). Akerman also is ranked among the top 60 law firms for diversity in The American Lawyer's Diversity Scorecard (2016).

Akerman's Real Estate Practice Group offers comprehensive and fully integrated project counsel services to clients across the United States and Latin America. With substantial industry experience and local market insights, the firm represents clients in complex real estate transactions and financings, development and redevelopment projects, public-private initiatives and litigation. Recognized as a national tier one law firm for real estate law by U.S. News - Best Lawyers, the group advises investors, developers, builders, lenders, retailers, owners and corporate end users, often in high profile matters.

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