Every now and then I come across a place in my travels where I can feel future coming alive, with new energy continuously brewing. That was the feeling that I had in the Wynwood section of Miami this past week.
Despite having visited Miami about a dozen times in the past few years, I had never been to Wynwood. Perhaps this is because Wynwood still has an “insiders-only” type of vibe, where the outer appearances only scratch the surface of what is truly happening.
Tony Goldman, a visionary real estate developer, was the driving force behind the revitalization of Wynwood beginnig in 2009. The neighborhood is situated in what was once a neglected warehouse district, in the backdrop of waterfront skyscrapers; the classic storyline of dozens of industrial neighborhoods around the world. Goldman brought over two decades of Miami real estate redevelopment experience to the table, having already having been a key figure in the preservation efforts of the architecturally significant buildings in Miami beach, such as the Park Central Hotel on Ocean Drive.
He combined his real estate knowledge with that of Jeffery Deitch, a prominent art dealer and early advocate of street art in New York, to create an exhibit for the newly popular Art Basel Miami beach in 2009. (Fun fact: Art Basel Miami drew over 75,000 visitors in 2014 and more than 1,000 private jets, according to Bloomberg.) The result was stunning: The Wynwood Walls.
In a 2012 interview with Art Business News, Goldman noted: “The vision behind Wynwood Walls has always been to create an international outdoor street/mural exhibition showcasing the world’s greatest artists working in the genre, …the project has truly evolved into what my friend Jeffrey Deitch calls ‘a Museum of the Streets.’”
In subsequent years Goldman recruited even more international and domestic artists who are drawn to make their mark on the buildings of Wynwood during Art Basel Miami. Today, gallery openings are booming, and both residential and commercial real estate is in high demand. Goldman Properties says it best on their website:
Today, when you are in Wynwood, you know you are in Wynwood. It is like nowhere else. It has a “sense of place.”
Wynwood is a welcoming home for anyone willing to embrace it. Even more importantly, it is especially attractive to creative entrepreneurs who subscribe to Goldman’s vision and want to push it forward with their own investments. Thus, what was once just a few colorful murals is now a self-perpetuating economic engine, rooted in a neighborhood with the arts at its core.
I’m excited to track the development of Wynwood, and I encourage you to check it out on your next trip to Miami.