A recent trip down to the very swanky land of Miami, really peaked my interest in how they are redeveloping their downtown neighborhoods and building this center of mega developments to rival some of their best North Eastern neighbors.
I took the full tour of most of what you would call “Downtown”–particularly the Brickell area. And what really stood out were the number of cranes in the sky, at least half a dozen developments under construction within a 10 block radius. I focused on the condo project Brickell Heights developed by Related Group, with Moss Construction putting up the steel and concrete.
According to my friends and family, this area of downtown 10 years ago was a bland mix of unattractive office buildings, a typical business district, somewhat derelict and in need of some real urban redesign. In comes a slew of major developers, including those representing the Related Group–some of whom had acquired parcels since the 1990’s, and began generating activity which is slowly turning Brickell into a top destination. The addition of The Shops at Mary Brickell Village, restaurants, supermarkets and coffeeshops create a true residential feel for the new owners moving into Brickell Heights when construction is completed in 2016. A total of 690 units across two towers, with NYC style amenities such as party rooms, pools, Equinox gym and Soul Cycle, starting at about $300/SF for smaller units, and up to $600+/SF for larger apartments. South Florida, oh you tease!
I headed out in this very special aboriginal necklace and authentic Panama Hat, toured the area, and befriended some construction workers who gave me some details on the site. Incredible, and well worth the trip.
Driving north from Brickell, we began to notice every building was covered in the most colorful graffiti art, and we found ourselves in Wynwood. The art district where every corner exists a mural that is as colorful as it is inspiring.
And so I learn another fascinating neighborhood transition story–the Wynwood arts district, previously occupied by old warehouses, these structures have now been re-purposed as artist studios, design showrooms as well as a gentrified residential area and tourist attraction.
Here’s an example of a mural along a side street on NW 25th Street.
The increased interest in this neighborhood was driven primarily by the low costs of retail storefronts and artist workspaces. But for property owners who started out years ago when this area was under-valued, this means a gold mine of financial and business opportunity. Much like what Williamsburg was to Brooklyn, Wynwood is transforming South Miami in a very unique way.