Near the corner of 71st Street and Crandon Avenue, Michael McDowell mans the flat top at Surf’s Up South Shore as he has nearly every day since 2014.

McDowell, who took over the Southern seafood and wing shop franchise from his stepmother, has seen South Shore’s ups and downs over the years. Vacant lots and boarded-up storefronts still pepper 71st Street, but McDowell says the neighborhood is transforming and he’s optimistic about a string of coming developments, most notably the Obama Presidential Center, a film production studio and a mixed-use project 2 miles southeast.