Monday November 5, 2007

Hipsters in My Hood video about gentrification in Wynwood. Sorry, folks, but it’s just inevitable that neighborhoods change over time, and yes, as property values go up some people are forced out. This is a burden for some people. Particularly renters — if you’re a home or business owner who can’t take the tax payments anymore then presumably your home or building is worth lots of money, and you can sell it for a tidy profit. But on the whole, nobody has a right to be upset because property values increase in an area. (via MiamiNights)



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  1. Duran    Mon Nov 5, 01:41 PM #  

    Your reaction disappointed me Alesh. Last thing Miami needs is another bland and over-commercialized South Beach. The county and the cities should work harder in keeping their identities from being diluted, something that gentrification always succeeds in doing.

  2. Adam    Mon Nov 5, 02:15 PM #  

    perhaps if small business owners were given something like a homestead exemption where their tax rates could be capped. This would not only protect the mechanics and fashion warehouses, but would protect the galleries as well, who will otherwise be next on the list of displaced wynwood residents when they are replaced with Urban Outfitters, etc.

  3. skipvancel    Mon Nov 5, 03:14 PM #  

    Interesting video, however, the mechanic’s bitch about taxes going through the roof is not the galleries’ fault. This is the fault of our elected officials partying like it’s 2005 (when prices were skyrocketing). It’s not. In addition, I would bet that the mechanic’s business has increased as more people have moved into the neighborhood and need his services.With the current real estate market in meltdown, Wynwood is going to take a lot longer to gentrify than other ‘hoods have in the last 10 years. BTW, save your pennies, Cynergi will probaly be selling those tiny studios for about 99K in the near future.

  4. alesh    Mon Nov 5, 04:31 PM #  


    I don’t get it… it’s a warehouse district. The warehouses, and the repair shop, etc, were there because it was cheap. The galleries moved in because it was cheap, causing property values to go up.

    Yes, there’s a poor residential neighborhood adjacent, and it’s going to get displaced. I applaud the “can’t we have it all?” sentiment, but no: you can’t have a rich neighborhood and a poor neighborhood in the same place. The neighborhood will tend toward equilibrium.


    I think the garage owner is upset because he’s emotionally attached to his spot, not because of any economic hardship. As Skip says, he’s either got more business, and/or can sell the space for huge profit.

    Shorty & Fred’s on the Beach survives by charing an arm and a leg. If this guy wants to be in a cheap neighborhood, he’s going to have to move, because his neighborhood’s not cheap anymore. But I don’t think it’s an unreasonable set of options.

  5. DJ_Kremlin    Mon Nov 5, 05:15 PM #  

    I have to agree with Alesh on this one. He’s absolutely right. The existing businesses in the area that are being “taxed” out of the market can sell for massive profit and move. The neighborhood adjacent will in fact become a more expensive neighborhood and will push out the poor people. Again though, if they own their property, they will make $$$ on the sales.

    I remember about 15 years ago homes in that area could be purchased for as low as 25K now, try to find something for under 250K. These folks will walk away with $$$. If they are smart about it, they’ll use the money to improve their level of life and not just piss it away!

  6. Melissa Mejia    Mon Nov 5, 07:21 PM #  

    I grew up in wynwood. I moved to LA for school and moved back into the area a few years ago. I will say that at first I was bitter about what was going on around us. Midtown Miami was being built and the old fabric and textile warehouses were being turned into galleries. Over time, I’ve warmed up to the redevelopment. Sure, I’m emotionally attached to the area and don’t want to see it’s mom and pop feel disappear but it beats having to go to bed at night in fear that our house would be broken into or that our neighbor was selling heroine right out of his home. Wynwood was a rough area to grow up in. We all grew up pretty fast. I was one of the fortunate ones who had a loving and hard working family. Many of my friends from the area wound up in jail, became junkies, or have been killed. The neighborhood is still a tough, working class community but you’d be an idiot to not admit that the quality of life of the residents has improved and that is a good thing. The neighborhood has become a fixture in Miami and that I can’t argue with that. On a side note, Circa 28 used to be known as Stone’s Lounge. It was the local dive bar. There was nothing good going on in that place, believe me.

  7. jason    Mon Nov 5, 07:28 PM #  

    Wynwood Arts District = WAD

  8. v*kstro    Mon Nov 5, 10:58 PM #  

    I’m all for gentrification in Wynwwood. My question and concern is why is the city not investing more time and money in Downtown Miami. I know it takes time, but it seems like every part of Miami is being redeveloped and Downtown is moving slower then any other project.

  9. alesh    Tue Nov 6, 06:08 AM #  

    victor~ Is it that they’re not spending the money, or that they’re spending it in ways that has no or negative consequences? and lately, there IS the Biscayne overhaul. I dunno… it’s hard to judge downtown with all the construction. we’ll take stock when the dust settles.

    jason~ What’s the movie with the “yes, we have an acronmy problem” line? It’s like that.

    Melissa~ Your perspective couldn’t be more right-headed. Sometimes when we talk about what’s “wrong” with a city we’re ambiguous about whether we think it’s a failure of government to “fix” it or whether it’s just a consequence of human nature. Of course the particulars of the “Midtown” development leave much to be desired, but on the whole it’s difficult to argue that the changes in Wynwood are not good for the area as a whole.

    Kremlin~ I agree with what you say, but would fight to the death against your right to — no wait, i think i got that wrong. um…

  10. robotkid    Tue Nov 6, 10:08 AM #  

    The galleries will eventulally move elsewhere as the district becomes more disirerable to the higher income bracket

    Its like an endless loop where poor comunities are displaced by artists and the artist are displaced by high paid proffesionals…

    Even the hipster enclave known as Williamsburg its being transformed into a high priced condo paradise …so who win? The rich people, you fool!

  11. Liz    Tue Nov 6, 11:47 AM #  

    Actually, homeowners are often driven out by increased propery taxes, and therefore their homes are foreclosed on, and they make no profit and are made homeless. Homeowners in areas like Wynwood should be protected by local government, not forced out by “artists” whose parents pay their rent (no offense, friends). Development can therefore flourish around these homes and only then does everyone win.

  12. b.a.c.    Tue Nov 6, 12:00 PM #  

    I’m with Liz on this one. Don’t most people who live in that are rent or have mortgages? How can low income families own houses? So my question is to all those who state “properties go up, they sell for a tidy profit” can know if they own or not? Sounds like another excuse to me

  13. Rod    Tue Nov 6, 01:08 PM #  

    The last thing any of us can rely on is local government. I know it’s a pretty cynical stance to take but if you’ve been reading the Herald’s coverage of our local government’s mishandling of housing funds the past couple of years then you know what I’m talking about. This isn’t just happening in Miami. There are Wynwoods all across the Country. The thing that is alarming is the speed of the process. I’m not sure what the exact percentage of homeowners in Wynwood is but I’ve gathered from residentsthat the number is actually pretty high. A high homeownership in the area allows the local community some flexibility and options. Renters in Wynwood have been displaced but not at the rate you’d expect. Little Havana was a predominantly Jewish community before the Exiles started moving in. Miami Beach was a predominantly Caucasian community before an influx of Jews moved in. Overtown has always been Overtown thanks to local government designating it “colored town” and Wynwood was also predominantly white until about the early 60’s. If you want to blame anything blame decades of urban sprawl. The city has no choice but to reinvest in it’s urban core. This situation was inevitable. I just hope it slows down a bit so people can catch their breath. Little Haiti, are you next?

  14. DJ_Kremlin    Tue Nov 6, 02:18 PM #  

    Miami-Dade is a bit of a paradox.

    In most other cities the “poor” neighborhoods are not in Downtown, they tend to be further out. Then even further than that you get the “nice” suburbs. Here though, Downtown is the ghetto and the surrounding areas (most) are nice.

    You can whine and moan all you want, but what’s happening here is best for the tax payers.

    Let’s look at this from strictly an economic standpoint, taking the human factor out.

    Miami calls itself an international cosmopolitan city. The truth is the closest thing to international cosmo. is Miami Beach.

    Miami is one of the poorest cities in the USA.

    By “cleaning out” the depressed neighborhoods, whether by increasing taxes, real-estate booms, whatever, you are bringing up the city income by adding more financially stable residents to its tax rolls.

    Wynwood, the entertainment District as the Design District and some day the Fashion District all need to up the tax pay outs of its residents. These are big areas, very close to the, hopefully one day active Downtown, that have had a tax payout to the city of next to nothing.

    Everyone wants the city to do this and do that, well it all takes $$$. We don’t have a state income tax to fall back on. Granted the city misappropriated funds and misspending is rampant, but that’s everywhere.

    By making areas like Wynwood more appealing to the better off group, the city is putting money in it’s pocket. The way the money is spent is up to us… through the election process. Don’t elect officials that will misspend!

    As far as what to do with the poor displaced people… There is always Liberty City that is FULL of low income housing.

    May sound harsh, but it’s reality. Those who are poor and those who are better off don’t mix.

    You see all those empty over built condos in Downtown? You want them to some day fill with people? For that you have to get the shit out of Downtown and offer those potential residents places to go. The supporting neighborhoods such as Wynwood and the other districts I’ve mentioned above, will serve as the place to go.

    There is no way in hell, a person in their right mind will pay 400K+ for a condo that is adjacent to a ghetto! Donwtown Miami needs to become that international cosmo. city it says it is.

    No mater how you slice it, the fact that this is happening is a good thing, even for the poor. Why? Because by creating more business you create jobs. Jobs that these poor people can have.

    Problem is that many prefer not to work, to collect the government handout, bitch and moan about how bad their life is. I’m sorry but I have no pity for these people.

    As far as who owns and doesn’t own the homes in those areas… Well somebody surly owns them. If they have a mortgage, then they probably paid much less money for the home than what it’s worth today, so they’re still walking away with cash. If they rent, well I’m sorry, if the rents go up and they can’t afford to stay there, then they’ll move to an area where they can afford the rent. This is life we can not create a communist society where everyone has the same income, same house, same job, same food…. If that’s what you like… We have Cuba to our South and China to the East, Bon-voyage!

  15. robotkid    Tue Nov 6, 02:45 PM #  

    let me take a wild guess: DJ Kremlin lives in the Downtown area

    Self interest always trumps reason

  16. Realness.    Tue Nov 6, 02:57 PM #  

    You all are fucking animals. You speak of ‘the poor’ like if ‘the poor’ are lepers or some sort of affliction that with proper treatment can be taken care of.
    Kremlin, your suggestion to say that poor people can just go and move to Liberty City is ridiculous. Why should the poor, which by the way is a corrosive phrase to call someone who simply doesn’t earn as much as you might, have to move? Don’t all of the upper class already have enough with Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, South Miami, South Beach, Brickell, etcetera?

    To the ‘good riddance’ of another commenter. Lets get something very clear: the heroin in Wynwood is not predominantly bought by Wynwood or ‘poorer’ residents, its bought right before a nice night out at Circa, Soho, Pawnshop, Transit, StudioA by people who are “better off” economically.

    Its not just ‘poor’ people. Its WORKING people. Its people who by any fucking circumstance ended up in a profession where they can’t make enough money. Its the ‘poor’ who have carried civilization on their backs and will continue to do so. You degenerates are digging your heels into the backs of those who provide and nourish our society.

  17. DJ_Kremlin    Tue Nov 6, 03:29 PM #  

    Robotkid: Nope, I live in Kendall, nice try though!

    Realness: Everything in life is a cycle. A good example of this cycle is Harlem in NYC. Harlem once was a very upscale area then it became a ghetto, now it’s slowly coming back to what it once was.

    My comment relating to moving, is not just to the “Economically challenged” (better?) It’s to all of us. I, for example, had to move last year because I got priced out of my town home. I sold it, make a decent chunk of change on it and MOVED. To a neighborhood where I could more easily afford to live.

    Furthermore, to your comment that we are implying that poordome can be treated. I don’t speak for anyone except myself when I say… Well yes it can be. If one wants to get out of the dumps, they most certainly can.

    I was four years old when my family immigrated to this country from the Soviet Union. We came here with NOTHING, just the clothes on our backs and a couple of suit cases for a family of seven. My parents worked days and nights to feed the family. For the first 4-5 years, we ate turkey everything. Why? Because my mother knew how to stretch a single turkey for two weeks. Making cutlets from the breast meat, something else from the dark meat and soup from the left over bones. We even ate the livers, hearts etc… Had to eat, so we ate.

    My parents who came here when they were in their late 30’s had to learn a new language, get new jobs, whatever those jobs were. My mom who was a literature professor in Russia worked as a house painter. My dad who was a theater arts professor and stage designer in Russia got a CDL and started driving a truck. My brother only 16 at the time went to work as well. So don’t tell me that I am some over privileged rich kid who doesn’t give a damn about the poor. Believe me I know what rock bottom is. I lived it. My family refused welfare when we came here because my dad refused to be a “burden on this wonderful country”. Years later my parents managed to move up in the ranks of society and eventually my father built his language skills and contacts and became an architectural designer and stage designer. My mother taught Russian language at universities including Boston’s Harvard. It took massive amounts of strength to accomplish what my parents accomplished. They did it with amazing determination and opportunity that this country gives each and every person.

    That said, I can’t stand to listen to the people who think that the poor are lost and need help. BULLSHIT! Being in this country is help enough. Now get your ass in gear and fight to survive and guess what? Eventually you’ll succeed. I’m so sick of the victim mentality. Oh we’re less fortunate thus we can’t succeed. BULLSHIT! You just have to work harder! It’s okay, it builds character and a certain respect for what you have.

    Now closer to the point. I still don’t see a problem with neighborhoods transforming. It’s a great thing for all of us, including the poor, as I pointed out in my previous post, it creates jobs and even more opportunity. Every one of those new high-rises will need maintenance workers. Every new business will need employees. The tax dollars generated will hopefully, at least partially, will go back into the city to create even more jobs. How? Well, if the tax dollars are spent on Museum Park for example, the museums will need employees, the park will need grounds keepers and security. It’s a domino effect. Everyone is so quick to say the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, once again, have to call BULLSHIT! When the rich make more money, they create more jobs, even if only to have greater tax deductions. When the rich lose money, they lay people off. The rich will always make their buck, whether it’s at the expense of the little guy by firing him or at the expense of the IRS by hiring the little guy and them wringing him off of their taxes!

  18. Rafael_PR    Tue Nov 6, 06:38 PM #  

    To Realness,

    I’m glad that you are so passionate about the “underprivileged.” It’s cool man, I’m not taking anything away from you but it seems to me that you’re simply generalizing about what’s going on in Wynwood and not taking into account the positives. Take it from somebody who was brought up in the area…I’m glad they built that fucking Midtown thing because what was there before? Nothing! It was a 56 acre hole in the middle of my neighborhood. As a kid I had to walk through the Buena Vista yards on my way to school and it was scary every single time and I grew up there. Though I love Wynwood it sad to say that you’re conditioned to live in fear when you grow up in a place like Wynwood. I was jumped, in Roberto Clemente park on 36st when I was 14. My grandfather was robbed on the train tracks on 27th near Enriqueta’s. I couldn’t use a certain pay phone on the corner of 30st and NW 2nd ave because a kid got shot there…it was often used by dealers. Shit man, I could keep going but I won’t. My point is that just because people are “underprivileged” it doesn’t make them better citizens or victims. I admit that some people on this blog may come off as being harsh but they all have their heads screwed on straight. Realness, I was just like you before all the development. I felt that all these people were invading my neighborhood and they didn’t belong. My grandmother who was 85 at the time and lived in Wynwood since 67’ was actually excited about being able to shop for nice things near the house. She considers Wynwood home but will never forget that when she first moved into the neighborhood some of her white neighbors treated her like an invader. She told me never to repeat their actions and welcome your neighbors no matter what. It sounds naive man but life’s been a lot easier since I’ve taken her advice.

  19. skipvancel    Tue Nov 6, 08:56 PM #  

    Wow! This is an impressive dialog.

  20. cohen    Wed Nov 7, 02:02 AM #  

    the video about hipsters is pretty hip…and yes poor people and rich people dont mix…. and this has been a long time coming….and i hate kendal, and everyone in it

  21. DJ_Kremlin    Wed Nov 7, 09:13 AM #  

    cohen… such hate. Why?
    Although I agree, I don’t particularly like Kendal either. Even though I live there.

  22. skipvancel    Wed Nov 7, 10:33 AM #  

    ref Kremlin to cohen…look at the time he posted…
    This has been a very interesting string of comments here. I am in the process of moving White Vinyl Space from Little Haiti to 3322 NW 2 Ave in Wynwood. Yesterday, while waiting for a locksmith, I spent about 2 hours in front of the building, facing that great fruit and vegetable market right across the street. All I could think of was Espanola Way circa 1990. I lived at the Espanola Way Art Center along with Craig Coleman, Gary Moore, Don Shearer, Cesar Augusto, Jim Tommaney etc, etc. The street at that time had 2 halfway houses, a couple of shops, a laundromat and the Hostel. The energy was great. And that is what I felt yesterday standing on NW 2 Ave. Will it get gentrified to the point where no one wants to be there? I don’t know, but Espanola Way does still have some charm left. Whatever happens it is going to take a while considering the melt down in the real estate market. This is good news for artists and residents because it will give the area time to adapt slowly. I would suggest to those who want to buy in, to save your pennies because next year we will see some very good buys in the area (single family homes). The area from N Miami ave to I-95 between NW 36 street and NW 29 street has not sufeered the wholesale demolition that Edgewater and East Little Havana have, so therefore you have a neighborhood still intact and that is going to mean a lot in the coming years.

  23. Kendall, FL    Wed Nov 7, 10:56 AM #  

    No worries, Cohen. The feeling is mutual. Please stay away from my borders…which is constantly expanding. My citizens do not like the cut of your jib, and I will not be responsible for what they will do to you if you ever decide to drive through our suburban empire.

  24. Adam    Wed Nov 7, 11:26 AM #  

    I think it is a little disingenuous to claim that the residents of wynwood can simply sell their business or home and turn a tidy profit. When this mechanic sells his business for a profit anywhere else he tries to buy will be at an increased price, so immediately a lot of his profit goes out the door. As we already know, he feels unable to afford the taxes in wynwood, so where will he go—out away from downtown, most likely. I don’t know if you can see it from where you are, but there is a common plan for cities, and miami is just catching on. Warehouses turn into lofts, independently owned businesses give way to chains. Soon the galleries in wynwood will face the same decision as this mechanic, but galleries can’t just sort of float out into the suburbs like a mechanic might be able to. Galleries need a specific culture around them—including studios and affordable rent for artists—to thrive, and in that culture they bring the seeds of their own demise. Once Wynwood is commercialized, there isn’t anywhere else for an arts district (maybe Hialeah?).

    That’s why I think it is important to provide tax relief for small businesses. We shouldn’t want a bunch of businesses that are just filling time before they can flip their property. We should want businesses who are heavily invested in the community they are in, and one way to make sure that is the case is to incentivise them staying.

  25. DJ_Kremlin    Wed Nov 7, 11:37 AM #  

    You make a valid point.

    For example, if Miami was to officially set up an “Arts” district which would house galleries and affordable housing for artists and give tax breaks to businesses that fit the “mold” of the district. That would work well I think. It would also ensure that the “arts” district remains an arts district and doesn’t give way to other types of businesses that don’t fit the mold.

    I’d like to see a true Theatre and Arts district appear, a place where small independent theaters, galleries, museums and hip street side cafes could co-exist and provide some kind of culture for this city!

  26. Adam    Thu Nov 8, 10:21 AM #  

    I think there is a danger in letting the city or any governmental body decide what “the mold” of an arts district is. I mean, I can only imagine that looking a lot like the design district already does.

    I think the key is that a thriving arts district needs more than galleries and studios. It needs bodegas and factories and outdoor produce markets, and cheap shoe stores and other things that scare rich people away, but that make for some culture. The design district is all wrong, in my opinion, and it wouldn’t be any more right if it were filled with real art galleries. It is a souless, lifeless place—the opposite of what an arts district should be, in my opinion.

  27. Travis    Thu Nov 8, 11:14 AM #  

    Adam, can’t agree with you more pal! Your last statement is right on the money.

  28. DJ_Kremlin    Thu Nov 8, 02:14 PM #  

    Adam, you’re right. Your last statement, in my opinion, relates to Miami as a whole. Granted we have a few spots that have a certain flair that is unique (in the good way) the rest of the city/county is truly sad and pathetic.

    Miami has so much potential, I just don’t understand why nothing worth while takes root here.

  29. Adam    Sun Nov 11, 12:31 PM #  

    I’m not sure. I think maybe something is taking root. But I am just waiting for it to be driven away by the influx of money.

    It is something of a catch-22, that by becoming “successful” neighborhoods become intolerable to the people which brought them that success. This happens in every big city in america, I think. It would be nice to try something different in Wynwood—giving tax breaks and incentives to the small and local businesses to remain there-including the shoe factories and warehouses. I think there is a critical mass of galleries there already.