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)
Monday October 30, 2006
Here’s an issue that a lot of people are disagreeing about: the Crosswinds development for Overtown was just approved by the Miami City Commission. Since the Herald’s open comments seem to be a thing of the past, it seems worth getting into here.
What we have is a big mixed-use project, mainly residential, now approved to be built in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. Hundreds of people showed up to either support or oppose the project. On the pro side, obviously, is the observation that the development would be an economic boost to the neighborhood. Those opposed (who included Arthur Teele) say that the project would hurt the character of the neighborhood, raise property values in the whole neighborhood, and kick-start gentrification.
The question is whether, with the Performing Arts Center, places like Karu & Y (here), and even historical renovations like the Lyric Theater, gentrification isn’t inevitable. Otherwise, it’s worth pointing out that the plan seems to follow Miami 21 principles; the tallest buildings are on the side of the busy boulevard (exact address?), with a height-transition down to the existing houses and apartments.
Of the 1,050 condo units in Crosswinds, 112 will be “heavily subsidized” (up from the 50 the developer was originally offering), and another 210 will be partially subsidized. Hardly makes a dent in the 1,200 new subsidized units the city wants for the neighborhood, and doesn’t really square with the 50/50 market-rate/subsidized ratio that was previously discussed, either. This is peculiar, since by my reading the city gave the developer the land.
Two lawsuits must be resolved before construction can begin, one of which was brought by the Power U Center, the folks who brought the 25-foot inflatable rat to the commission meeting. Should be interesting.
Wednesday September 27, 2006
Huh? Did someone say gentrification?
Thursday September 7, 2006
Here’s Brook Dorsch hanging out on the roof of his Gallery, with one of three gigantic new A/C units, which are recently purchased (e-bay, baby), shipped from California, installed, wired, debugged, and switched on. And they work great — the opening this Saturday (Lucas Blanco and Marc Roder) shall take place in a pleasantly cooled gallery. So I sat down yesterday to chat with Brook about the A/C, the future of the Dorsch, and Wynwood in general.
The units were purchased (new) from California at a bargain price because a recent law made them uninstallable there. But it turns out that wasn’t the problem; nor was the problem installing them. The big pain in the ass was wiring them for power, which required a whole new electrical panel for the gallery, and ended up costing thousands of dollars. But nevermind: they work.
Standing on the roof, it’s impossible to miss the gigantic new power-lines running down the block eastward — not the ones you see in the picture, the much bigger ones supported by the fat pole rising in the the mid-right). They were rush-installed by FPL to power the almost-complete Midtown development, and they crackle softly in the damp air, murmuring about the changes rapidly approaching for the neighborhood.
When Dorsch moved his gallery from Coral Gables to Wynwood six and a half years ago, the only art-related thing there was “Locust”: and maybe the “Rubells”: (though they weren’t open to visitors yet). He was the first of dozens of galleries which flocked there at first because rent and property values were cheap, later because everyone else was there. But now, thanks to Midtown, the art-ification of the neighborhood, and general property-boom, property values are maybe about ten times what they were then. And when Miami 21 hits and almost certainly re-zones the whole area from industrial to some sort of residential/commercial combination, it’s really going to take off. At some point (methinks less then five years), the forces of the marketplace are going to force the galleries to begin to move out, and the Lincoln Road cycle will begin again somewhere else.
Update: Brook mentioned this about a million times, but not enough for me to remember:
Onajide did a podcast Steve Kaplan did a podcast on Onajide’s blog about the AC. I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet, but there it is. Why isn’t Critical Miami podcasting? Why is the Miami Art Exchange blog opening in a funny box (rendering permlinks useless)? What do you get when you drop a piano on an army base? All excellent questions.
Friday November 4, 2005
From the 1930s to the 1960s, N.W. 2nd Avenue from 6th to 10th Street, the main strip of a vibrant and pioneering black community called Colored Town, was better known as “Little Broadway.” (…) Today, all that remains of Little Broadway are miscellaneous press clippings, billboards donated by Clyde Killens (the era’s entertainment king) and the Lyric Theater, which, according to material provided by The Black Archives, has been described as “the most beautiful and costly playhouse owned by Colored people in all the Southland.”
There is something very exiting about this. All the development to the north of downtown is going to spread to Overtown sooner or later. This project is funded by government money, so it’s not necessarily an early sign of the trend, but eventual gentrification is inevitable. The exact nature of that gentrification is still up for grabs, though, and this would be another opportunity for Miami to do something right. This project, by preserving the history of the community, is a step in the right direction.
Monday September 19, 2005
This guy came up recently on Artblog, though folks have been chuckling about him for months. He’s an artist/model being used to advertise a condo development in Wynwood. The joke is that (1) he’s not much of an artist and (2) unless he’s a stockbroker of lawyer by day, he’s not going to be able to afford $250,000 for 386 square foot efficiency. And if he can afford it, why’s he using brushes that cost $5 for a 10-pack? Brook, who snapped our picture, says
Update from the heart of Wynwood. That famous photo of the artist with the clean brushes is reproduced as a gigantic banner outside of the sales office here in da hood. Some clever artist(s) have graffitied the banner to add a big X over his mouth and a $ over his eye. I makes me smile everytime I drive by.
We’re biding our time. The cycle or artists moving into a poor neightborhood, attracting the rich, and getting squeezed out by rising rents has been repeated numerous times, even in a city as young as Miami (before lincoln rd it was coral gables). The smart (like Brook) buy early, and reap the benefits. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they get to stay. As high-rise condos go up, property value appraisals do, too, and with them taxes.
Let’s say you own a small apartment building in Wynwood. You see all this development happening , but let’s say you want to keep your rents low for the sake of your tennants.
Well, when your taxes start to go up, you’re essentially forced to raise the rent. Since your building isn’t nice enough to justify the increase in rent, the only option at that point is to sell, because you don’t have the money to kick everyone out and pay out-of-pocked for a 12-month restoration. Wow.
Mayor Many Diaz wanted to do something about it, changing the way appraisals are done to more favor these building owners, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to fly.
In the late 1990’s, inexpensive rent made it attractive for artists to live in Miami. The real estate boom in recent years has made it difficult for artists to find affordable houses and studios, thus creating a great demand for subsidized studios at such places as Art Center/South Florida. It seems that as soon as they set down roots in one neighborhood and become involved in dynamic relationships with other artist residents, their homes are demolished to make room for condominiums or, more ironically, “artist” loft-type living.
Monday August 22, 2005
Are you like us? Do you hate writing about things that sound like they’re going to be good? We hereby present you with an offical Critical Miami regurgitated press release:
MIAMI WORKERS CENTER PRESENTS FOR RENT: who will pay the price? AN ANTI-GENTRIFICATION ART EXHIBITION
August 22, 2005, Miami, FL—- In the face of Miami’s unprecedented real estate boom, Miami Worker’s Center and RENT (Regional Equity for Neighborhoods and Tenants) have partnered with Miami Light Project to present FOR RENT an exhibition of gentrification artwork and film.
Featuring the work of photographer Meg Pukel, Protest and Anti-Gentrification Art-work and Propaganda as well as the films Boom The Sound of Eviction directed by Francine Cavanaugh, A. Mark Liiv, and Adams Wood, Fenced Out by FIERCE, Paper Tiger TV, and the Neutral Zone and Straight out of Scott by LIFFT and the Miami Workers Center, FOR RENT will showcase the detrimental effect that gentrification and development has had in communities around the nation. Also featured will be a trailer for BOOMTOWN FEVER, Miami-based filmmaker’s Lisandro Pérez-Rey’s Miami Light Project commissioned documentary about Miami’s real estate explosion.
Created in anticipation of RENT’s September 10th Town Hall meeting, FOR RENT’s objective is to bring attention to the other side of the glitz and glamour that developers and marketers push when promoting condo lifestyles. FOR RENT gives voice to the history built by communities and artists. It is this history that is threatened by the wave of gentrification sweeping the city. This art show asks, and begins to answer: Who will pay the price?
FOR RENT: who will pay the price?
The Light Box
3000 Biscayne Blvd #100, Miami, FL 33137
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
For more information call 305. 759.8717