Edgy, dynamic, and creative, Wynwood is the new nexus of Miami’s art and social scene. What was once a blighted area of abandoned warehouses and factories is now the new home of the creative class, thanks to late developer Tony Goldman, and his company, Goldman Properties. Goldman was a visionary entrepreneur with experience developing blighted areas, like New York’s Soho and Miami’s South Beach, into hip and world-renowned destinations. His passion for redevelopment inspired him to evolve Wynwood from a derelict district into a live/work/play neighborhood focused on street art and culture.
In 2009, Goldman and curator Jeffrey Deitch first introduced Wynwood Walls, a “museum of the streets” with a focus on street art murals. The sensational work spurred the completion of many street art murals throughout Wynwood, bestowing the area with the status of being the hippest and most creative neighborhood in Miami. In addition to Wynwood Walls, Goldman Properties still maintains the momentum of commercial development in Wynwood. Owning over 25 commercial properties, like The Wynwood Building, The Wynwood House, and their famous restaurants, Wynwood Kitchen+Bar and Joey’s, Goldman Properties chooses to focus on developing business and retail spaces that can strengthen the artistic atmosphere of the neighborhood. Since its inception, Wynwood Walls has become the iconic symbol of Wynwood as a creative neighborhood that is currently in rapid revitalization efforts to bring in more business and even more residents.
In comparison to other newly developed Miami neighborhoods, like Brickell where high-rise condo buildings and luxury businesses have become the neighborhood’s personality, Goldman Properties’ Managing Director, Joseph Furst, doesn’t see Wynwood becoming gentrified in a similar sense. “The lifestyle may evolve and become more high-end but there will always be a focus on entrepreneurs and local creatives. It is important to keep the soul of the place,” says Furst, “Wynwood is Miami’s home of the creative class in any medium. Art is the vocabulary for the neighborhood.” According to Furst, Goldman Properties’ focus is on reusing and adapting existing spaces in Wynwood to include commercial and residential space while maintaining a human scaleable environment fit for the area. “The goal is to keep the area pedestrian friendly with about five-to-eight story mixed-use infill,” states Furst.
The street art of Wynwood lends itself to the neighborhood’s existing architecture. Much different from the glass towers popping up across Miami, the existing low-rise warehouses of Wynwood are exterior canvases for the culture and it is important for new development to maintain that culture. This is something that developers Bradley Carlson and David Polinsky of Fortis Development Group took into consideration when developing 250 Wynwood, the first approved new construction condo building in the neighborhood. As their slogan inspires “Home is where the ART is,” 250 Wynwood is an innovative concept in that the architecture includes street art, which wraps and fills the building’s surface, as a design choice. “Our building reflects the simple boxiness of the surrounding warehouse structures, and also incorporates beautiful street art, one of Wynwood’s hallmarks,” explains Carlson.
While Wynwood is growing with retail, design shops, galleries, and dining, the area is slow with residential development due to existing residential zoning restrictions. These zoning restrictions are being challenged by developers like Goldman Properties and Fortis Development Group and small gains are being won. Currently, Fortis Development Group is in the process of planning a near future development in a land parcel adjacent to 250 Wynwood. “As a former New Yorker, Wynwood feels similar to the neighborhoods I know and love--like the Meatpacking District, Soho, and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Wynwood is an exciting place, prime for carefully-planned, beautifully designed, urban infill development,” explains Carlson. “We will start to see small-scale, low-rise residential development that is sensitive to to the area’s creative vibe and preserves the neighborhood’s best characteristics, such as warehouses wrapped in mural arts.”