Native Miamian developer Craig Robbins has been around the block. In South Beach, the influence of his development firm, Dacra, bounces all over the place. While Jorge Perez slams his influence down at the southern tip of the island, Dacra has brought life to the heart of the island community. Dacra is attributed with having ignited the spark of Lincoln Road at a time when the funky strip was underground and unstable. Today, bustling Lincoln Road is the main East/West economic artery in South Beach. The north side of Espanola Way is another major trace that Dacra has imprinted upon South Beach.
Image: Depiction of Lincoln Road in the late 1950’s
In South Beach Dacra’s projects and renovations include:
- Lincoln Lane
- 741 Lincoln Road
- 600 Lincoln Road
- The Marlin Hotel
- The Netherland Hotel
- Miralda Facade (Washington Avenue)
- North side of Espanola Way
From Dacra’s pioneering efforts in South Beach, the firm moved to create a modern urban island community on Allison Island: Aqua. The Aqua development is revolutionary in that it is contained within and has transformed an entire island in Miami Beach. The project spans 8.5 acres, involves 10 renown architects, and 46 island homes. Aqua is a clear manifestation of the firm’s boundless ambition and vision for Miami.
Holding true to Craig Robbins’ forward-thinking Modus Operandi, he has set his sights on the next frontier of Miami’s emerging urbanism, the Design District. The 18 block district is situated at the north edge of the urban core. There, again, historic structures are at the center of his development activities. Many of the District’s buildings were erected in the 1920’s and 30’s and were neglected for decades. Since Robbins has applied his attention to the area, it has become a center of gravity for Miami’s deepening cultural scene. Dacra has lured 50 showrooms and 40 design and architecture firms. Recently, the firm announced a $220 million expansion of the district. The plans include groundbreaking designs for numerous buildings throughout the neighborhood.
Images: Allison Island in the 1920’s (top) and Aqua on Allison Island today (bottom)
In the same way Craig Robbins’ activities propelled South Beach into its current glamorous position, his rumblings in the northern periphery of the core are stretching Miami’s urban boundaries to areas once thought off limits. Dacra is less a development firm and more a revolutionary urbanization movement. Craig Robbins stands at the head of this surge, and as is the case with all legendary developers, his imprint will alter the cityscape for generations to come.
Image: Aqua at night