What Three Things Does Redevelopment Need?
Wanna change a neighborhood for the better? All it takes is confidence and vision. And some artwork.
Two of Miami's more prominent redevelopers offered their insight on what it takes to revitalize a South Florida neighborhood during our Miami 2016 Retail Renaissance event at the InterContinental yesterday. “You have to have confidence. You can get over any type of negative impression people might have,” says Goldman Properties CEO Jessica Goldman Srebnick, who is transforming Wynwood into one of the country's hottest art communities. “It really is about feeling confident and feeling passionate about what you're doing.”
Jessica was among a panel of commercial real estate pros in Miami, which included RCC Associates CEO Beverly Raphael, ID & Design International president Sherif Ayad (who moderated) and DACRA COO Steven Gretenstein. Jessica notes how her father, Tony Goldman, helped transform South Beach—when it was the preferred home for septuagenarians, or as Jessica says, “it was Heaven's waiting room,”—and did it with patience and passion. With Wynwood, the same applies. Jessica says in the early 2000s, people didn't even want to leave their cars in the area. Today, it has hundreds of thousands annually walking its streets.
Steven—in the throes of redeveloping the Design District—says a developer needs to understand the neighborhood and its values to forge a vision for a property. “Then you begin to build a sense of place where people want to visit,” Steven says. With the Miami Design District, Steven says DACRA is luring back restaurants, luxury retailers and cultural venues with the overall neighborhood in mind.
Both Jessica and Steven are proponents of public art to improve the aesthetics of a community. Early on in Wynwood, Jessica says her firm reached out to graffiti artists and invited them to decorate the Wynwood walls instead of chasing them away. “It was not about feeling a sense of intimidation because [the artwork] was for everybody,” she says. “You put it in everybody's face. You curate it. It's not just graffiti art. It's contemporary art.” But Steven was quick to note that art has to become part of the architecture. “Just saying you have a piece of art is not going to do it,” he says.
Our keynote speaker, Turnberry Associates owner Jackie Soffer—here with her husband, famed developer DACRA's Craig Robins—says food is critical to the redevelopment of Aventura Mall. But not a food court, per se. Jackie says Turnberry is dropping the food court moniker to go upscale, and land more luxury dining tenants because she sees a pent-up demand in South Florida for luxury. “On the low end of what we had before, we had some tenants who were not really desirable and stood out there with chicken [samples]. We won't have that,” she said to our audience of more than 200 commercial real estate pros.
Jackie also says art will be incorporated into the redevelopment. "When you put art in a property, people want to spend more time there,” she says. “I think the art also gives people culture that otherwise they would not be able to experience.”