What is the Miami River?
Referred locally as “The River,” the Miami River is not just an Inland Waterway, but a melting pot of commerce and luxury. Only 5.5 miles long but teaming with enterprise, it runs through the heart of Downtown, supporting yet contrasting Miami’s vibrance. To some, it is a maritime “Wild West” with numerous businesses engaged in cut-throat competition. To others, it is a place indicative of the American Dream, and a major supply hub to the Caribbean.
In either case, the waterway and its businesses remain significant to the history and heritage of Miami.
A Diverse Waterfront
The Miami River community services three different maritime domains for South Florida; international freight, marine construction, and luxury boating.
Shipping companies such as Antillean Marine, Betty K Line, and Centauri Transport move tons of cargo throughout the Caribbean. Ports such as Nassau, Freeport, Abaco, Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haitien, Rio Haina, and Santo Domingo are heavily reliant on US exports moved on their ships.
Ebsary Foundation Company and Shoreline Foundation Inc. build and maintain critical marine infrastructure throughout the area. They set foundations, build seawalls, and repair bridges which allow South Florida, the Keys, and parts of the Caribbean to function.
Boat yards such as RMK-Merrill Stevens, Apex Marine and Hurrican Cove service thousands of luxury yachts and pleasure craft every year. These facilities play a crucial role accommodating Miami’s boating community, allowing owners and operator places to keep these vessels ready and in pristine condition.
Shifting US-Caribbean trade policies coupled with ongoing cultural changes continue to redefine the area’s socio-economic landscape.
More than ever before, the booming commercial real estate market has placed urban planning and infrastructure modernization to the forefront. As a result, political focus has shifted to areas such as the Miami River that were once an afterthought.
On the lower river in Brickell, major real estate projects such as River Landing and One River Point are in full swing. There are more to come as other riverfront properties are targeted for commercial development. New food and beverage destinations such as Kiki on the River, and The Wharf draw a new demographic of people into the middle portion. Most significantly, plans to redevelop the Melreese Country Club into Miami Freedom Park are moving forward. This 135-acre area just east of the Airport will become the new home to MLS Club Inter Miami CF.
This changing of the times means that the Miami River working waterfront must remain vigilant but change also.
Stewards of the River
Organizations such as Miami River Marine Group and the Miami River Commission play a critical role in maintaining solidarity amongst the community. With many competing businesses and conflicting interests, cohesion is more important than ever to meet the new climate.
P and L Towing has worked diligently alongside these groups to ensure The River’s future stability. The company’s Founder, Capt. Beau Payne, spent countless hours and money defending the interests of all those reliant on its economic engine. A proud Miamian and River Rat to his core, his stewardship resonates to this day in legal statues designed to protect the integrity of the area.
As such, the Miami River has and will continue to play a crucial role to the interests of South Florida and the Caribbean. However, it is up to this dynamic Working Waterfront and its businesses to harness its entrepreneurial spirit not just to survive, but to thrive.