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The Real Deal: McKenzie aims to meld craft and construction in Allapattah

In a 1938 warehouse in Allapattah, McKenzie has built out its construction, design and craft services under one roof. The company, founded in 2005 by owner Gavin McKenzie in his South Miami home, now operates out of the 25,000-square-foot building it gutted, designed and redeveloped – a company HQ that also serves as a showroom, McKenzie told The Real Deal on a recent tour of the property. Murals cover the exterior, including a large one of McKenzie’s father overlooking the parking lot, and two Everglades-themed pantings on the north side. The boutique construction and craft firm is both general contractor and custom craft shop, the latter of which makes and sells custom wood, metal and concrete pieces to business and homeowners.

Their goal is “to bring the craft business and construction under one roof.” Last year, McKenzie added its design division to increase efficiency.
An entity controlled by developer Alex Karakhanian sold the building in March to Michael Simkins. McKenzie has a long-term lease for the warehouse, which the company redeveloped, including the addition of a skylight. The company’s new landlord is Michael Simkins. The office, on the second floor of the building at 2247 Northwest 17th Avenue, overlooks the workshop on the first floor and includes a kitchen, beer on tap, a full bathroom and a yoga room. They’re also working on a rooftop garden, as well as  a gallery fronting Northwest 17th Avenue. And the general contractor/craft builder is busy. McKenzie’s clients include the Related Group for its SLS Lux and SLS Brickell projects, Zak the Baker, Jugofresh, Ray Allen’s restaurant Grown, and boutique South Beach hotels, including the JetSet Franklin at 852 Collins Avenue.

Benji Power, COO, said Allapattah is close to Wynwood and the Design District, where many of McKenzie’s clients are, but also easily accessible via highways. Allapattah, he said, is not Wynwood 2.0 because “Wynwood was mostly vacant. Allapattah] is active industrial. It will stay working class,” he told TRD. McKenzie’s principals also took its roughly 80 employees on a walking tour of Allapattah led by Miami Dade College historian Dr. Paul George. Many of them didn’t know the area despite growing up in Miami. “We’re here for the long haul,” Power said.


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