Daily Archives: October 23, 2006

Overtown Being Phased Out?

We know what Overtown is, but what is Park West? Where is this new neighborhood, or should I say concept? I say concept, because today Park West is nothing like it will be in, say, 5 years. It will be a thriving urban community that will be home to some extremely wealthy residents. To put it simply, Park West is the area directly to the west of what is now called Bicentennial Park. I say now because in the future it is supposed to be called Museum Park. You know, the world-class park and home to three museums. The project is still an idea without full funding, but many are saying that the project’s outcome is certain to be positive. Let’s hope so. The 10 Museum Park developers are betting on it.

As of late, the two terms Park West and Overtown have often been used interchangeably. But now it seems that people are prefering to use Park West instead. It sounds better to the buyer, it seems. But, Park West is immediately to the west of the park, and that’s it, right? Apparently not. More and more of the east Overtown area is being referred to as Park West. Why? Well, for those who are somewhat familiar with Miami’s history, the name Overtown represents a once thriving African American community that was mostly demolished and left nearly abandoned for years. For most, the area has always been a wreck. In reality, it is a sad story. A story of over 12,000 mostly African-American families that were forced to move out of their proud neighborhood to make room for Interstate 95 and the I395. The neighborhood then became synonymous with crime and violence. Few dared to enter. To those that knew the least, it was like an urban war zone that if you mistakenly wandered in, you never came out. Such was the extent of the negative perception of the neighborhood during the 1970’s, 80’s, and even into the 90’s.

But now Miami has become boomtown. Overtown is sitting in the shadows of it; literally, when all of the surrounding buildings get built. However, Park West seems to be erasing Overtown’s existence. Or, at the very least marginalizing the once thriving black community’s former boundaries. Paradoxically, this former urban wasteland, is slowly disappering to make room for ritzy condos, clubs, restaurants, and offices. So, what will be left of Overtown? Does anyone care? Should the name be retired? Will it be swallowed up and renamed by ambitious developers and disinterested city officials? Or, will preservationists protect the it’s proud history and prevent it from disappearing?

Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under BoB Articles, CBD: Overtown

My Data. Your Data.

The Data section lists every project—proposed and under-contruction, developer, and architect. I have and will continue to develop profiles for developers, buildings, and firms of interest.
Project Profiles contains images of the development as well as an overview of the building’s exterior and interior design, it’s features, ammenities, location, and lifestyle niche.

Developer Profiles discuss current, past, and future projects executed by these developers. Career highs and lows, and their unique role in the Miami developmental realm are topics of interest.

Architect Profiles cover each major architectual firm—discussing prevailing themes in architectual style both in terms of retro and forward-thinking designs. In today’s boom: Is there an aesthetic pattern or a fractious array of different building designs? We discuss Miami’s constantly evolving architecual appearance and future urban visual identity.

Maps and Illustrations are stored here in full. Here they are easy to find and view. They are also distributed carefully throughout the site. These illustrations provide unique, one-of-kind, perspectives on urban growth in and around Miami and are exclusive to BoB: Miami. There is so much more to see. To view data click on the links beneath Data under “Categories” on the right side menu.

1 Comment

Filed under Data

Architect Profile: Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolf and Assoc.

NBWW, as I shall refer to Nichols Brosh Wurst Wolf and Associates, formerly (Nichols Brosch Sandoval and Assoc.) is a uniquely Floridian architectural firm that specializes in hotel architecture, although the firm has delved quite deeply, as of late, into high density residential projects and dabbled in commercial as well. As Floridian as their visual flavor may be, their work is not limited to the sub-tropical peninsula. Their main work has concentrated on Miami where they have designed hotels, condominium towers, and office buildings alike. Some of their more high profile hotel designs include the Ritz-Carlton South Beach and Coconut Grove, The Loews Hotel South Beach, Westin Diplomat Towers in Hallandale, and Regent Bal Harbour. Their tallest condominium design has been the Metropolitan project with its 76 floor Met 3 tower. The Terra Group’s Quantum on the Bay development in Uptown (51 and 44floors ) has also been one of their taller designs. The Terra Group originally contracted them to design the Metropolis Towers at Dadeland as well. Jorge Perez of the Related Group’s Plaza on Brickell, although not as tall as Met 3, will be one of the most standout developments on Brickell Avenue. Another notable high rise design from NBWW is the Fontainebleau II and III residential towers at 36 and 18 floors respectively. In analyzing their portfolio, one finds that NBWW works well at developing retro-modern designs. That is forward-thinking designs that are influenced by past architectural trends. The Loews and Fontainebleau’s design is modern and blends in well with the surrounding historic Art Deco architecture. Their designs range from extremely glassy (Fontainebleau II and II, and The Regent) to a combination of glass and concrete (Quantum, Ritz Coconut Grove). The concrete in the designs is usually offset by sleek purposeful curves that create an impression of movement and flow. Sharp lines blend in with curves in NBWW buildings. The Midtown Four project is somewhat of a departure from their curvilinear designs. The object, which appears as a slimmer, more rectangular version of the Mellon Financial Center, is quite plain with its straight lines. The Plaza on Brickell, resembles a more slender version of the Ritz Coconut Grove minus the dominating green crowns. Both projects are two tower developments, share similar glass concrete patters, vertical lines, and green glass. Buyers in NBWW-designed buildings will probably feel like they’re living in a world class resort. The level of experience in designing them will undoubtedly leave an imprint on all their designs. This is certainly not bad for the owner of a unit in an NBWW designed building; unless you consider an atmosphere of leisurely luxury to be bad.

4 Comments

Filed under Architects

Developer Profile: Ugo Colombo

Mr. Ugo Colombo is a living legend. Many don’t know who he is. They don’t know that he owns The Collection exotic car dealership, or that he recently bought the Carl Fisher mansion valued at 42 million. Even less know that he is responsible for having initiated the era of residential skyscrapers in Miami with the 54 story Santa Maria. Yes, Mr. Colombo is responsible. In meeting him, you will find him to be quiet yet sharp. Although it is not advisable to approach him, he comes across as approachable. Importantly, he, as a developer, has a flair for the ultra-luxurious and supreme in quality. His buildings aren’t always exceptionally tall. He doesn’t build several at once. Like an artist, carefully stroking at his canvas, Ugo patiently executes one sometimes two projects at a time–always thinking of his next series of strokes. Except his canvas is our skyline.
There are patterns to his legacy. His buildings tend to be curvy and sleek with an emphasis on glass which blends harmoniously with the natural landscape. Mr. Colombo’s projects are almost always exclusively “wet”. That is on or near the ocean or bay–as if the blue glass serves as some sort of architectural bridge between the water below and the sky above. His latest major project, Epic residences, is a continuation of this pattern.

He is loyal to his architects. Most of his major developments have been designed by Revuelta, Vega, and Leon Architects; perhaps because they have done a great job translating his vision; perhaps because he has succeeded in working with them and does not want to change his winning formula. Regardless, his capital, vision, and flair for the special and truly unique have led him to become a living legend with a legacy that continues to evolve. It is fitting that such a man should reside in the home of the once great developer-pioneer Carl Fisher. The great man would be proud of his former home’s newest owner.

13 Comments

Filed under Developers