The South Beach Cultural Campus
Updated: Jun 23, 2018
The #SouthBeach cultural campus is something of an accidental manufacture, technically it is simply the southern part of the Collins Park Historic District which more or less encompasses the area around the Bass Museum and stretches up just past the Helen Mar. The phrase first came in to wider use back around 2000 or so when the local residents north of Lincoln Road were trying to encourage development up in to the area north of 19th street. Since the renaissance of South Beach in the 1990’s the area had always had a quirky and artistic leaning, but as real estate prices started to rise, especially in South Point, the Northern tip of South Beach proper was trying to figure out how to bring their property values up. The motivation wasn’t necessarily to try and sell out, more it was to clean up the neighborhood, higher priced #realestate and condos would motivate the city to clean up the street drugs and homeless who tended to gather around Museum Park and behind the high school.
The idea for the cultural campus wasn't necessarily planned, rather a convenient confluence of time and place. #ArtBasel was coming to South Beach, expanding their footprint to the warmth of Florida for the first time. The Bass Museum, the ballet and the library were all centered around the park. Throw in to the mix, the more fringe developers who were looking to take a risk on developing a new neighborhood, Alessandro Ferretti, Ken Fields, Adrian Zecha. The massive rehab of the Roney Plaza. The fantastic Talula Restaurant and Mynt then Mokai nightclubs. All of these things kind of all happened at once over a very short period of time.
The Bass Museum was and still is the anchor to the neighborhood. It’s a wonderful area to wander, although sadly the W Hotel and the other developments in the neighborhood have taken away some of the gritty fun that the area used to have. If anyone can pull up or find photos of the old Holiday Inn that would be amazing. Crazy building that was a total wreck, but for some reason was dearly loved.
Image From the amazing - Phillip Pessar