The Miami Gardens flea market that was the site of hundreds of haircuts, mixtape sales and manicures is set to take on a new life as part of a new shopping center called Gardens Promenade.
Dozens of residents gathered Thursday to bid farewell to Carol Mart, the decades-old flea market, and a shopping plaza at 18200 NW 27th Ave., which will be demolished. They will replaced with a new center that will be home to seven new stores.
“Whatever you wanted you could go into the flea market and you could get it and it’s important and it’s been important in this community,” Mayor Oliver Gilbert said. “What we are is not all we are meant to be.”
Gardens Promenade will feature several chain stores including Burlington Coat Factory, Marshalls, Citi Trends, Ross and Dollar Tree. The center will also be the home of South Florida’s first Wawa store, which is set to open in early 2017.
WHATEVER YOU WANTED YOU COULD GO INTO THE FLEA MARKET AND YOU COULD GET IT AND IT’S IMPORTANT AND IT’S BEEN IMPORTANT IN THIS COMMUNITY. Mayor Oliver Gilbert
The plans to renovate the flea market have been in place for years, but they picked up steam in 2015 when IMC Equity Group bought the property for $7.1 million. Carol Mart officially closed at the end of 2016, and interior demolition work is under way. The flea market was also featured in the 2006 video for “Hustlin’” the debut single from rapper Rick Ross.
Many residents in the crowd said that while they were sad to see the old flea market go, they were excited about the opportunity to shop in their community instead of having to travel east to Aventura or north to Broward County.
“I will miss it but not too much because I think it’s time for change,” Stephanie Fair said.
The new shopping center has some vacancies, and Fair hopes the city can bring in something like a bowling alley or another attraction along with the shops.
“I remember getting haircuts and talking to people in the community. I just want to see it get knocked down,” said Terry Jones.
Structural demolition is set to begin in a few weeks. Construction of the new shopping center is set to begin in April. The developers expect the project to be completed by the middle of 2018.