It was Monday morning in South Florida, the temperature already reached the 90's degrees. I was heading to a meeting in Wynwood to meet one of my clients that was looking to purchase a property in the area. I took 195, then take the exit of North Miami Avenue and saw a new shopping center with the traditional national brands that every single developer expects and normally have as a tenant, such as petsmart, foot loocker, etc. I continue my trip until 29th street and turn west, and suddenly I was in another planet. For the first time in Miami I saw artistic murals in each of the buildings that used to be body shops, auto repair center, warehouses and other industrial business. Amazed by these impressive murals, I missed my turn in NW 2 AVE, so I had to turn left in NW 3 AVE. Once I turned I saw things that I never imagined I would see in South Florida, buildings that actually were unique. Wynwood Building for example is a masterpiece, all covered in black and white stripes, this gem make you believe that you left Miami and you are in the most artistic area of New York. Once I finished looking at this marvelous piece of art, I kept going and to my surprise I found something that was more incredible, a building with a mural with the face of Nelson Mandela. I took a picture because I understood at that moment that I was not going to be able to explain the perfection of the image. I attached it to the article for your enjoyment.
It was clear to me at that time that this area was different from the typical real estate in South Florida, and you were not going to succeed with the same old tenants, franchises or floorplans. Do not get me wrong, Real Estate is Art but in this part of the planet it seems that it was more important how many sqft you can built than how your building will look. In fact, you can go to Sunny Isles one day and count how many buildings you consider are artistically enough to be value at more than 100 million dollars. I am sure you would not need more than one hand to count your choices. As a contrast, Wynwood is unique, fresh and young and the prices are much more affordable (this always helps). This uniqueness is making this part of Miami to be cool and hip.
In addition, the city of Miami is really helping developers that would like to do real estate projects in the area. They would be more flexible if you need a variance and they will help in any way they can to reduce your risk of failing. Some of the developers are already profiting from these changes, but they actually expect even a much higher increase in the next few years. For example, NW 5 and NW 6 are still places that have old retail shops without any improvement in the last 30 years. However, when you talk to people around town, they believe that changes are coming sooner rather than later.
Anyhow, after my meeting I was able to understood that are still options for people that like to be creative and unique. We do not need to end up in the same 2 split bedroom apartment with the same windows and kitchen, we can actually pick a building that is full of art and proudly show our friends and family that we are unique.