MiamiHerald / The construction, at last, is mostly finished.

Nearly 25 years after developer Craig Robins scooped up his first property in the then-blighted wholesale district geared to interior designers, the latest expansion of the $1.4 billion Miami Design District is almost complete.

The barricades and cement trucks that made Northeast First Avenue look like a war zone are gone. Long-blocked roadways have been cleared for traffic. So are new pedestrian walkways, art installations and plazas. In the Design District, he has preserved historic gems like the Moore Building, which was built in 1921, while mixing in new modernist buildings, spectacularly organic facades and art installations like a Buckminster Fuller-designed dome big enough to walk through.

Two free-to-the-public museums are open, along with new stores ranging from ultra-luxury (Gucci) to urban and hip (Rag & Bone). The high-end Cuban restaurant Estefan Kitchen has been cooking since March, serving up upscale black beans and ropa vieja with live music and open mic nights. The Nite Owl Theater has been screening cult and classic films since August.


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