Art, luxury brands give Miami districts hip makeover

Mon Dec 1, 2014 12:44pm EST
 
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By David Adams and Zachary Fagenson

MIAMI (Reuters) - Sitting at a restaurant table looking out over a courtyard of street art murals, real estate developer Jessica Goldman Srebnick muses about her vision of a creative, cultural image for Miami, a city long vilified for vice and frivolity.

"We like to think of ourselves as romantic developers," said Goldman Srebnick, 44, describing the role of her transplanted New York family in the transformation of Wynwood, a once-derelict area of warehouses north of Miami’s downtown, into one of the hippest urban revivals in the United States.

As thousands of wealthy contemporary art enthusiasts descend on Miami Beach for the annual Art Basel fair this week, on the other side of the Biscayne Bay, the streets of Wynwood - above all its graffiti-art walls - will likely garner as much attention from visitors.

Much as South Beach rose from the ashes two decades ago to become a popular tourist destination, Miami's new "Uptown" neighborhoods, covering about 100 square blocks, are being rapidly gentrified by a mix of luxury retailers and apartment buildings, as well as tech innovators, breweries, bakeries, and restaurants.

The Miami makeover began after artists began painting Wynwood's walls a decade ago, with the encouragement of local developers, led by Goldman Srebnick's late father, New Yorker Tony Goldman, a pioneer in the revival of New York's SoHo district.

Several major contemporary art collectors set up shop there, adding to Wynwood's hipster appeal.

"The concentration of public art in Wynwood and rippling out from there is unprecedented," said renowned California-based street artist Shepard Fairey.

Most of the developers are New York firms hoping to repeat the success of urban renewal in SoHo, the Meatpacking district and Brooklyn.   Continued...

 
A man takes a photograph at the Wynwood Walls during this month's Art Walk in the Miami neighborhood of Wynwood October 11, 2014.   REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity