Thursday July 5, 2007



Edgewater is one of the most quickly changing neighborhoods in Miami. Historic houses that date back to the earliest days of Miami stand (and often fall) among modern high-rises, many still under construction. There is an excitement there, but also the unease that comes from development that is too much, too quick, and too disorganized. I talked about this in my Miami 21 article, but the truth is that Edgewater is in some ways a case study in how not to do development, and in a decade may look like a hodgepodge if surrounding neighborhoods are developed under the new code.

But right now, the rapid change is causing some frayed nerves. The new buildings isolate their residents high above the street and behind security, so that when they, say, run into homeless folks at the gas station, there is some natural tension. And while it’s easy to make fun of this “What — poor people live near me?!” attitude, the thought of an officially-sanctioned colony of homeless sex-offenders nearby would give anyone understandable (if ultimately irrational) jitters.

It’s too bad the Miami Herald didn’t talk to the Edgewater residents who don’t live in buildings with security guards and locked garages, because the residents living in the older buildings in the neighborhood deal with much more serious problems, not the least of which is regular break-ins (I actually have talked to those people). But not to fear. As this transformation proceeds and the neighborhood fills out with a new population of middle-class folks, the homeless and the criminals will gradually move elsewhere, and things will be hunky-dory in Edgewater again.

Update: Where is Edgewater? This map shows it lumped in with Wynwood, but Edgewater is the eastern slice of the orange block — between US-1 and the bay and between downtown and I-195.

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  1. Kinda New    Thu Jul 5, 10:44 AM #  

    (pardon my ignorance) Where is Edgewater?

  2. Steve    Thu Jul 5, 12:04 PM #  

    One of the inevitable effects of Edgewater’s gentrification: the residents of the old, on-the-street, single-family dwellings who have dealt more intimately with the neighborhood’s crime and strife get squeezed out by rising prices and taxes. They get the boot just when the neighborhood becomes more inhabitable.

  3. Xavier    Thu Jul 5, 02:09 PM #  

    Edgewater is west of Biscayne Bay, east of Biscayne boulevard, south of the I-195, and north of 15th street.

  4. alesh    Thu Jul 5, 05:11 PM #  

    Incidentally, I’m getting my new camera in a few days and Edgewater is the first project I have planned.

  5. dreaming    Thu Jul 5, 08:55 PM #  

    didnt the residents of blue take a look around the neigborhood before they dropped 600k on a condo?
    the herald story makes them look stupid, but that could just be the writer’s fault for not expressing more nuance in the piece…
    the truth, as the story somewhat makes clear, is that edgewater and similarly gentrifying areas of miami are 5-10 or 15 years away from ever being nice places to live outside the cocoon of your condo….the charter club people know this. theyve been there 20 years they still have bums bathing in their fountain….

  6. Renee    Thu Jul 12, 10:48 AM #  

    That was such a beautiful neighborhood and I used to just drive around the area along biscayne, wishing I could buy one of those houses. I rode my bike up there last month and wondered if I’d gotten lost. I hadn’t been up there in more than 5 years and in that time I realised that one of the houses was filmed in a movie I’d seen. Something About Mary was a cheezy, funny movie and I biked up there to see that house again. I rode around confused for a bit until I asked a security guard at a condo across from three other condos under construction. She sadly pointed towards the construction where that beautiful house still stands. It is now nearly buried visually in all the steel and concrete around it. It is the only house left of all those truly lovely homes that once had me dreaming of living there.

  7. alesh    Thu Jul 12, 10:59 AM #  

    You know Renee you’re right. As much as I like that neighborhood now you’re reminding me of about ten years ago when it was all those old beautiful run-down houses, and I figured the area was due for a resurgence, but I figured they’d renovate those houses and make them shine, like they did in Coral Gables. Instead they tore most of them down. It’s a bummer.