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Wynwood's Tranformation Is Not Seen The Same By All
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The neighborhood of Wynwood in Miami has changed a lot, real estate wise, over the last 10 years, and it's no accident. It has been a goal of a group of luxury real estate investors set out to re-invent the area and turn it into an arts district.
A documentary called Right to Wynwood premiered at the Wolfsonian-FIU museum during the Student Film Festival. It deals with the way gentrification has begun to shape the luxury Miami real estate in the neighborhood.
The film is the work of filmmakers Camila Álvarez, a student at Florida International University, and Natalie Edgar, a graduate of the University of Miami.
Álvarez was inspired by a research project she conducted on gentrification to study the changes that have undergone in Wynwood. She stresses that gentrification there is not what one usually sees in other luxury Miami neighborhoods.
"In Wynwood, it was kind of artificial because a business model was brought and gentrification was planned," said Álvarez. "It was developer-led, instead of being artist-led."
Edgar adds, "It somehow seems as though the art was used as a marketing tool to bring in people." It comes across as more artificial.
Before the Gentrification, Wynwood was a Puerto Rican neighborhood with a lot of warehouses. There wasn't much there as far as luxury Miami real estate goes. It was decimated by the economic changes. On the west side of the neighborhood was a garment district and when manufacturing began going overseas to countries like China, the warehouses were left to rot. The entire west side of Wynwood was abandoned, and then the east side was just a very poor little neighborhood.
Reaction to the luxury real estate changes has been mixed. Some of the long-time residents of the neighborhood like the area's new direction. Others are very wary of what these changes could mean for them in their daily lives. People are worried about their situation because they know they are going to have to leave. They know they don't have any way to change what is going on in Wynwood. The situation is that there are new people going into Wynwood and they are making decisions for the people who've been living there since the 1960s.
Álvarez hopes those who are able to see her film will look at gentrification in a brand new way for Miami luxury real estate.
"For us, we're artists so we like gentrification in a way," said Álvarez. "We like the colors. We like the galleries. We like the cafes. We like Panther Coffee, Lester's. We enjoy Wynwood. But at the same time, we do think about the other effects of gentrification, what gentrification is doing to the people that live there, because if you think about it, gentrification is a modern type of colonization."
"What I would like people to think about is how we can do this in a different way, how we can give [these] people something good as we take something good from the neighborhood," said Álvarez.
In Wynwood, it's all about what you see for Wynwood visitors may tend to focus on all the beautiful things they see like luxury Miami real estate, there rather than what's going on below the surface.
"You have to question how did this happen, where did this come from, who is it really affecting. And unfortunately, we're not usually doing that type of thing," said Edgar.
Miami luxury real estate will enter Wynwood in the future.
Andres Leiser is a local contributor for Constec Realty's Miami luxury real estate website. Andres Leiser has been involved in Miami real estate for over a decade. For more information please visit http://www.constecrealty.com
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