Monday December 17, 2007
The pile of rubble formerly known as the Sheraton Bal Harbor.
Wednesday August 1, 2007
Monday July 9, 2007
BoB Miami has current photos of most of the construction projects in downtown. (You need to right-click and say “view image” to really see them, because the images on the blog are resized in-browser and very jagged.)
Monday June 25, 2007
Oak Plaza, coming soon to the Design District. Pedestrian-friendly ground floor shopping with residences above, just the way we like it.
Monday June 18, 2007
The sordid tale of Biscayne Landing. This patch of land between FIU North and Oleta State Park was considered for a zoo, an “international center” with a revolving restaurant atop a tower, an amphitheater, a golf course, and airport . . . well, for most of the 70s it was actually a dump. It was an EPA Superfund site from 1982 to 1999. Now it’s a condo development, last seen promoting itself with ultra-cheesy billboards featuring scantily clad women and silly “too cool for downtown” taglines. Not unsurprisingly, 93 units have been sold, out of a planned 6,000. Also not unsurprisingly, the superfund business is not mentioned on the development’s FAQ. The saddest part is that the city of North Miami gambled with the developers on this, leasing them the land and paying $31 million to clean up the site, hoping for a tax windfall.
Wednesday May 2, 2007
Efforts continue to bring Miami to a point of having more stadiums per-capita then any other city in the world. Update: And I hear there’s talk of putting a soccer stadium of all things on Virginia key!
Tuesday April 24, 2007
Gabriel takes a trip around Miami and doesn’t like much of what he sees. At every turn, the needs of pedestrians and public-transportation users are put behind those of drivers, and the design of new buildings indicates that this will not change much in the near future.
Thursday January 18, 2007
Morningside was founded in the early 1920s by James H. Nunnally, a candy baron(!) who, according to local lore (OK, I talked to a guy walking his dog) would take folks up from downtown on a boat, smoke cigars with them, and sell them houses in what was a premium community even then (original price for a bayfront house: $13,000). More history here and here. The houses are the usual mix of Mediterranean Revival, Art Deco, and 1960’s suburban sprawl. It’s surrounded on three sides by much poorer neighborhoods, so much so that you can see the boundary on the google map, and it’s been gated/walled in for awhile.
I’d originally meant to photograph up and down Biscayne in this area, but once I wandered into this neighborhood, I was hooked. The Houses or Morningside photoset has commentary with each of the houses. Look for Nunnally’s house, plus three model houses that he had built to show off the style he intended for the neighborhod. On the map, the three model houses are grouped together on the little triangular wedge between 57th and 58th streets.
Wednesday January 3, 2007
I love me a little digital rendering in the morning. Click for extra mega-sized, with vividly obvious seams between reality and CG. These buildings, under construction on the north side of the Miami River, are modestly titled “Epic.” Prices are about what you’d expect: $500,000 – $5,000,000 per unit. Like all with-it people, places, and things, Epic has both a website and a MySpace. Both are worth visiting, for more spectacular photography.
Seriously, though, this is a primo spot — downtown Miami, surrounded by water on two sides, in the middle of real-city action.
Tuesday January 2, 2007
A photoset of the dilapidated Miami Marine Stadium on Virginia Key. The stadium was closed down after hurricane Andrew in 1992 because of fears that it would colapse. It still hasn’t, but it’s still considered unsafe. There have been plans to turn the site into an eco-campground, which is odd considering it’s a huge concrete structure next to a highway, and the rest of Virginia Key has plenty of actual wilderness. (That may be why the plan hasn’t gone anywhere.) There has also been talk of restoring it, but neither private interests nor the government want to be bothered.
So there it sits, in all of its disintegrating, vandalized beauty. Verticus has some history and a plea to fix the stadium. More photos here, along with an interesting tidbit: it’s possible to get on the roof, from which the view is spectacular, but you need to take a rickety catwalk to the skybox, then climb a ladder which hangs over a section of the catwalk with no floor. In other words, you have an excellent chance of killing yourself on your way back down. Ouch. And here’s a link to the stadium on Gmaps.
Friday November 24, 2006
A mockup from a piece in this month’s Wired Magazine (click for spectacular full-size). “Miami, for example, had only five skyscrapers (buildings more than 150 meters, or 492 feet, tall) in 1999 but will have 71 by 2012.”
Wednesday October 18, 2006
Pathetic: not a single building in Miami-Dade is green. “Miami Mayor Manny Diaz is considering incorporating green elements in Miami 21, the city’s new building and zoning blueprint, and requiring that new city buildings are LEED certified. Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorenson has pushed the county to require sustainable building for any facilities it owns, operates or finances.”
Sunday October 1, 2006
The Spanish Monastery (aka St. Bernard de Clairvaux Church) in North Miami is one of my favorite places. It was originally built in Spain in the 12th century, and shipped to the United States and reassembled, brick by brick, in the 1950’s. Here’s a nice photo set of the building (and here is an alternate, lower resolution but easier to use version of the same photos). More photos at the Monastery’s own web site.
Friday September 29, 2006
It appears that Grove residents have lost the fight, and the Grove Depot is going forward. On the other hand, maybe what they got for their trouble is a much more neighborhood-aware, smaller design. But they sure aren’t satisfied. Although some disagree that it’s much of a compromise.
I guess I just don’t get it. This is a gigantic property along US-1 which formerly held a K-Mart. Is having a Home Depot and a Milams there really the end of the world?
Wednesday September 27, 2006
Monday September 11, 2006
I was all in suspense while they were building this thing, wondering what it was going to be. As far as I can tell, it’s just a way for Barry University to increase its visibility in Miami; I couldn’t find any mention on their site to “Silvester Tower.” A great idea, but really now: it matches the noise walls along I-95, and the architecture really suggests a prison tower more then anything else. A tasteful fence with barbed wire top in front completes the effect.
Thursday August 3, 2006
I lived at 936 Pennsylvania Ave when the Synagogue at 935 Euclid was being rebuilt; I could see their stained glass star-of-David window from my window on the alley standing at the sink in my kitchen. I have a big photo of the building, gutted and ready to be rebuilt as luxury condos, hanging in my present apartment (a couple of blocks down on Euclid). Since then all the condos have been sold; probably for close to half a million each (wild guess—anyone know for sure?).
Another synagogue, on Washington and 3rd, became the beautiful Jewish Museum in the 1980’s (?), but I was under the impression that the synagogue a couple of blocks down the street from my new apartment was still functioning. Boy was I wrong. Unbeknownst to me (and so done much more subtly then the 936 job), it has been converted into one huge contemporary residence. I’m going to go ahead and declare this “creepy.” Who would want to live there? Well, we’ll see: it’s selling for 17 million. The one thing I think I like about this renovation is that they left the exterior intact.
So as far as I know the only functioning synagogues on the Beach are on Alton now. What we have, of course, is the Jewish population moving away, mostly to Broward. It makes sense that the synagogues in residential neighborhoods would be converted to residences, and the ones along the bigger arteries remain as is. Unfortunately, the ones being renovated were more architecturally interesting, so there’s a severe loss of history here. So it goes. (via Rick and thanks NicFitKid, in Rick’s comments, for additional info)
 That’s my attempt to rephotograph it through the frame glass, and so the crappy quality of the picture.
Friday July 7, 2006
OK, folks, the plan is here: 1697 parking spaces on four lots and one garage (plus 751 valet spaces), all within
“one- to three-block radius” um, no sorry, I’m looking at your little graphic (shown actual size; I guess we don’t need to see whatever that legend is), and the far end of the garage looks a little farther out then three blocks. But let’s be serious: you don’t walk ‘as the crow flies’ when you’re going to the opera: you have to stick to the sidewalks. I had a little extra time, so I imported a Google Maps image into Illustrator, and traced out a walking route from somewhere at the far end of the garage to the entrance of the opera house:
Then I straightened out the route and compared it to the legend. As sketched, it’s 2,496 feet, or just shy of a half mile. No big deal on a nice day, but try it dressed up on a muggy October Miami evening. I actually suggest the valet, which at $20 is only $5 more then the spot in the garage; standing around in the hot air is preferable to schleping a half mile. By the way, Here’s a link to MPAC’s flash-based parking widget. Personally, it doesn’t quite work in IE or Firefox for me, but others may have better luck.
For extra fun, let’s count the ways in which the Herald article blows it:
- Swallows the “three blocks” crap hook, line, and sinker—right out of the gate (metaphor whiplash, sorry).
- “announced this week that they have secured about 2,500 valet and self-park spaces” Opportunity missed to break out a calculator: it’s actually 2,448 spaces
- “a sell-out crowd at the center, which has a capacity of 4,820” Let’s not bother to point out that that means 1.97 seats for every parking space.
- “Center leaders acknowledged the need for nearby parking garages more than 10 years ago while planning the state-of-the-art center, which is $102.1 million over budget at $446.3 million.” Good enough, though the original budget was $255 million, which puts the current total more like $191 million over budget.
- “Though the center will miss the opportunity to profit from parking fees from its own garages, Hardy said the new plan won’t burden the budget, either.” I guess you can’t “LOL”s in a newspaper article, so we’ll let this one go.
- “The Performing Arts Center is likely to be completed in early August.” Wrong.
Update: Another Herald article offers a dry look at MPAC prices.
Wednesday June 7, 2006
I’d heard about a mess surrounding the tower at Opa-locka airport, but I didn’t quite get it until I saw this picture yesterday. This thing is supposed to last three years, and it doesn’t matter that it’s “not a structure that meets any code whatsoever,” because the FAA, who put it up, is exempt from local building codes!