As the Arts continue to thrive in South Florida, businesses continue to win in Wynwood. A freckle on the map of Miami that is generating as much traffic as we see on our highways. The blind side gentrification and development that came with the boom of the hipster bloom birthed a new area in our city. As a result the Wynwood neighborhood has been getting a lot of attention in the eyes of locals as well as the world. The craziest part of it all is that just a decade ago, it was off the grid in the minds of most.
As 2017 comes to a close, very few people know the small strip of the city has celebrated its 100th birthday. Pioneered in 1917 after an annexation by the city of Miami in 1913 removing it from North Miami. Driven by Miamians Josiah Chaille and Hugh Anderson, the partner took out their first plat in Wynwood on January 7th 1917. Originally called “Wyndwood” but revised to Wynwood after the city of Miami built a park on the northern area and dropped the “d”. The area became known as Wynwood Park for years to come until people began to drop “Park” and just say Wynwood.
In its early days it was known as an area of the city for the working class. As quickly as 1926 companies such as Orange Juice Distributions, Coca-Cola & “American Bakeries” began to build plants in the area.
This allowed opportunity to grow and individuals to prosper. The 1920s also brought on a boom in the garment industry. By 1980, the Miami Fashion District was part of the third largest garment district in the country. Wynwood accounted for 225 businesses that represented about $64 million in retail sales and manufacturers drew about $125 million in revenue annually. The popularity drove many businesses in & out as a result.
The amplification in volume brought a diverse audience to Wynwood composed of Haitian, Colombian, Dominican, & Cuban immigrants. With a population of nearly 18,000 by the end of the 1970s trademarked the area as lower middle class as unemployment and drug trafficking began to rise. Immigrants began to flood the area and it became known as a “Springboard”community where one could live frugal and improve their financial life before moving out. This began a rapid decline in the culture and economy of the neighborhood.
It wasn’t until the early to mid 2000s that Wynwood would begin to win as developers such as David Lombardi & Tony Goldman began to take interest in the location. Goldman, along with his daughter and son, the family began to make moves in the area buying out plots of land. On October 2009, Goldman collaborated with Art Basel and gave birth to what we know as the “Wynwood Walls”
Tony Goldman was also a huge driving force in the revival of SoHo & South Beach. Goldman Properties continue to run and operate in the area to to date.
Lombardi arrived to the area in 2000 and really became the catalyst on what Wynwood is today. Art Basel arrived to Miami in 2002 and began to bleed creativity in the boroughs of the city. Lombardi who had originally purchased warehouse spaces as backpocket properties due to their bargained rates began to see potential as art galleries in Wynwood began to sprout. He began to cultivate the culture and by 2004 had about 15 galleries in the area catered to struggling artists.
Between Goldman, who began to spring restaurants, bars, and breweries & Lamardi who continued to focus on the artistic culture, the two became stamps in the development of the of a little part of town that started 100 years ago. Happy Birthday Wyn(d)wood.