Española Way: Great Streets of the Art Deco District
We're. Very excited we're, trying something new this time by, creating, our educational. Programs, on the road and we. Have a great team. Jeff, Donnelly, and an Zhu Li men came, on religious. To celebrate, the great streets, of the Art Deco district. This, year, 2019. We're celebrating, the 40th, year since. Our Deco district was listed. So. We, thought why not rather, than our, usual spot I think the little tour around you all these amazing, streets, you know I don't really know too, many cities, that have such, unique streets. As we do so it's something. Brings a lot of visitors here but, it's also great at the residence, talk, to these fans too so, I wanted you to see we can get to the. Agency. And. I also wanted, to say, thank you to our new programs. Coordinator. Charlotte. Salon. The. Last thing I wanted to mention is, that there is a local, star, for, either. A local. I. Saw the mobile, wallet in the 20%, off in, several, ways. Is. Run. Sandhya. Is Ray and she was going to be walking. Here on this, Saturday. Morning and. So, definitely, check out her website because. You'll see we'll have the lecture and then we'll have the walking tour and also Jack Johnson, the chair of our board of directors just, arrived so let's, never out of applause. Do. We have any tour guides in the audience, is raise your hand, thank you to all the tour guys come, to keep us on the map and getting, amazing press, recently, in the New York Times. Etc. So let's all, give a round of applause to Susan. Asked you our moderator, thank you. Hey, he. Can't hear us you can't be nervous about a bribe okay Thank You Daniel, I'm. Susan askew, and I am the founder and editor, are in Miami, Beach where, a blog, and weekly, newsletter, focus, only on Miami. Beach news, and information. What a welcome you tonight to the. First in, this program. Series, and, also to this chronic stress on those, people who are not familiar Espanola. Way as you can see by NB t 1 e in 1925. As a historic, Spanish, village who wanted to feel as if you were transported. Into a dynamic. Mediterranean. Plaza when they came here, today. The street boasts 17. Dining, establishments. Including tapas, eaten into us thank you again for hosting us this evening art. Galleries, hotels, retail, and, nightly, entertainment. The. Format for tonight will be that I will introduce each panelist, before they speak don't have about five minutes of welcoming. Introductions. Talking, a little bit about their experience, on Espanola. Way I'll. Ask them one question and. Then we'll come to the audience, for for. Your questions. What, introduce first Scot Robbins, to my right Scott, is the founder, of Scott Robbins, companies, it's a real estate development. Firm specializing. In development. Construction. Leasing. And commercial, property, management. He, is a Miami, native who has not only been involved in the development of many of the landmark, projects, here in Miami Beach, he's also an activist, and preservationist. He, was a driving force behind sunset, Harbor many of you may be aware of that and also, the recent, revitalization. Of Espanola. Way and his, El Paseo hotel, has also recently undergone, restoration. And renovation. As. Funny old way has been a labor of love for Scott for the last 30 years he has seen it at its best and at its worst and as. A result we have asked him to kick us off this evening and kind of set the tone. The. First one to. Talk about is the LA I've been. Here for 30 years and, it's. It's, been truly, an. Experience, for me I know that you. All are historians. So I just wanted to make sure that. Right, for everybody because the backs of the street walk are, very interested, in the. Street was originally. Built. By Francis. Rivers. 1922. You, know Francis. Whitman is but. Francis, littell is actually. The, God that developed, barbershops. So. You. Know way back when when. Francis, was here. At. The site. Spla, that. He is and, actually his family still owns the, barbershop. So that's a that's a nice, piece of history for, all of you when. He built them is called the, Spanish village. Today. When. I, know luxury retailers see what. When, Francis once was. Developing, that's. The way he we met this guy maybe. This guy named. Was. A prolific, builder, in. Miami, Beach and Francis. I guess decided, to team up with, him, to build. What. Was called the Spanish village. And, recorded, that. It's, a quick and I could never come up leader, but. They built. Espanola. Way for artists, and lovers, of artistic. Might, of. Artistic, who. Might congregate. Amid, congenial. Surroundings. So. That was that was really the concept behind.
The. Creation, of Espanola. Way by these two guys and. You. Don't know a little bit about rounding, but. Nobody went on to build the rowing Plaza. I'm. Not sure if any of you know what the plaza, is. The beautiful, hotel it's become, the 1/2. No. Not, the W about the war never tell and. Just. You, know and basically, they want to test a you're way too eager, for all, the people that went to the hotel. Really. Really, you. Know you know SPLA came around because the New Yorkers were coming in here they wanted a place. Where. They hated. Word you know you know they have all these like you know like ideas. Of what it could be the action wanted, to be a very, similar to to an artist, area, in your cortical, Greenwich. Village. Advantage. Was sort of the. Nucleus. Of what. They also make, it similar. To the artists. Colony. As I haven't. Been to that they. May be some, trick. Still there but. Nobody. Was the Builder he had a favorite, architect. You. Know not, as good at stop Freddy -. This. Is a, really, really good architect, and, there's a guy named Robert a tailor Robert, and Taylor he. Was the architect of, Espanola, land these, two gentlemen, decided, to do was. They wanted to create a Spanish. Village they wanted to create art. Architecture. And. Spanish. Revival. Like. Before because, they, thought between the bottle was. Going to be the architecture. Of. South. Florida, and, in fact in many areas it wouldn't be the architects at the South Florida, except. For here and can really miss my my. Good friend Nancy Lee I don't know what I hear she's not feeling, well. I was hoping to see your here but but. The, beginning became, our thing so most of most of mine they do and. I'm sure all of you probably know this as, well better, than I do but my, niche is mostly art deco and art that goes sort of took over in. The 30s, and architect. Emilia prevalent, or, intentionally. Not. Necessarily. Pool tables or. Anything like that but. So. Together. They, go that's they go away and they step back to. That one. Point five million dollars, to build, the straight and one point five million dollars back then it's. A lot of money and, later on in my story that. And, what happened is tackling, these. Destiny. What we really didn't kind of really. Reach its potential. They. Had all these random. Things for but it really became. A. Place, where we. Have during Prohibition. Al Capone actually, ran the stinkies. And it was now sort. Of locally, as place. A place, to, drink. Me. Redlight the charts so. So, that's that's sort of what became, of it back that, and. It certainly didn't. All, of their Dre's back there but then what one two. Just. As a lot of the buildings in Miami Beach. Became. Housing, before a, lot, of the mother, truths and that's the know was also, for. The truth. Were. Too during. Our first choice period. Against. Paul. The. Robot, was. Created. And an Espanola linking, the. Drum baffle over all that he penned that. God had actually, made a stay, all the way the. Rumba that wolf was a little, known guy made. Señor, Nelson. But. Anyway. To the. Present, day. Beatable. No. So. I. Still. Await was. Am. I getting close. Was. On the National Register, it was, his. Probably natural voters, for 1979. In. 1986. The city minor fish thanks to people like Barbara. Megan. Put. It up I made money he's managed actually, designated. As one. Of the most important, historic. Streets. My. Brother might want. This hotel in, the street, actually were stylish for that that's my son in, 1989. Like, whether or not that contain, 1. Million dollars for, the north side history, the.
Street Was in terrible disrepair, in this case the. Ban on race that, they were dealing drugs it had, indicated. Prostitutes, treatment. Really, a mess, praying. Decided. To clear, out the entire top floors of. All. Those people recreate, the Escondido array Art Center, so, yesterday light Arts Center was was, sort of replaced all the see now this was a space. That, we. Created, for artists, artists, do. Their work, public. Was welcome to them to walk out walk through the buildings that could sell them or we, had actually, some great artists, come. Through the SPLA, Art Center like I'm, not sure anything would remember them but since Greg. Holman is kind of the most famous. Artist, so and, then. That's, so, and then, I get some neighbors so I have I had, some great neighbors over the years, ed. Seltzer, at lendable and see they. Came to the street and they. Owned the north side I saw work. Real, estate developers. That actually care and love the. Streets that I own these people did as well to me they resurrect. Them to play them to tell the, plaintive tone. Went. Back for. Sixty. Seven eight years, they. Created, a youth. Hostel there they began to the, artists, call a new, constant, the, street began to really, turn out and. I'm going to speed up a little bit of it to the end so like today. Custard. Yellow lay has over, 20. Restaurants and, retail, stores. The. It. Was, made the, best street in South Florida by the Miami, Herald it was a regional, competition. Somehow. I think my life sonic, actually. But I'll only presentation. Actually 1x1. That or I. Just want to say they're presently, over, 244, Tories are being constructed there and. I have to stand my, honestly, believe that. Today oh and I can't forget the city so the city. To, two and a half years ago spent, two and a half million dollars, into the land to redo the street they made it all pedestrian. It. Took away the streets the. Sidewalks are, level this new pavement, that you see it's, all anything over the last two and a half years and a key bank the, city enough for trusting, us, the.
Way They have and. They financed us and the in their creation that we should so without, the city none of this happens, and, I, just want to say that I think that today. Espanola. Way probably. Represents. What. Whitney. And Romney, had. In mind over. A hundred, years ago they first created history so, I have to say that I can't be more proud of when. I forgot to mention that our new neighbors and, our equal, you're proud of and we're so excited to have them. We're, dealing with David. David burden Stephen passing just. Just wonderful, people and, some deserve it and felt the opportunity. To to. Be part of such a special Street, and, I'm so excited to see what these. Guys do, over, there I know it's going to be special and, I hope that the street is it's, beautiful for, me now and it's, of it this, is a future, for all of you to enjoy by the way. We. Want to we want to encourage, locals, here if you have any trouble, getting locals. Cars it's a 20%. Discount on, every, restaurant. Boats. The restaurants, in that movement so you need help, homeless. Will. Figure. Out how to get you either, a piece of paper or you guys have been smoking, and, whatever -. Thank. You Scott we're now gonna go back further. Into the colorful, history of Espanola Way with, Mike Blandino. Mike. Grew up on this funny Ola way which I think it's a pretty interesting thing, to, have done is, his, grandmother, was Haiti skull. Haiti. And her twin. Sister Sahara, identical, twin sisters were, born in Havana Cuba, and. They became painters, sculptors and, assemblage. Are, known for their humorous. Three-dimensional. Paintings, and sculptures, of Old Havana and, trendy. South Beach. One. Writer described. Their work as combining. 1950s. Tropical, burlesque, with. 1990s. South Beach funkiness. They. Left Cuba for Miami in, the late 60s. Early 70s at, different times and they settled, here lived on this vanilla way or a very colorful presence here and, Mike says that often. One of them would walk into school just a few blocks away so looking forward to your stories.
Good, Evening everybody, get. A basa Miami Beach. Thank. You for, giving me this opportunity for. Me to be here as well away my, childhood, Street. I've. Seen a lot of changes, I mean it's amazing what they've done here throughout, the years. My. Grandmother's, came to Miami Beach in 1969. And. They. Fell, in love of my knee Beach at. First they came to Miami, I was just little ivenna they stayed there for like about a month and. They. Were, okay with it but they came out to the beach and, they fell in love with Miami Beach and. And. There and there they made, a lot of successful arts. Here. In Miami, Beach and Miami and Coral Gables a lot. Of. Love. Clients. Or commissioned. Artwork. Throughout. The years of the 70s and 80s and. I. Mean. There everybody, fell in love with her work because, of their work as a combination, of. Three-dimensional. Work sculpture. And painting, not. Appreciate. A lot of people thought it was paper energy but it's a special, sculpture. And. By. 1970. My. Dad Michael. He. Was about maybe. 18. Or 19 years old a time he. Joined. To. Work together with, my grandmother. Because. My, grandma, crayon wasn't around I wasn't cheating didn't, come together in, 69, days one. Of them stayed in Cuba because of they have common. Interests and that was going on in Cuba. And yeah. 1970. My dad started working with like that and. He. Started you know getting. To know the part, and everything and she. Learned a lot from my grandmother, and grandma. Was like a teacher to him Pittman with the arts and. And. Then by 1973. This. Is before I was born I was born in 78, so long by. 73. He. Might. Migrate on Sahara. Finally. Arrived, to Miami, and. 73, and they. Join together and, they started, doing the combination, of three dimensional and, and. The, teamwork you know the family teamwork with, my, grandmother, my crayon, and my god and. By. 1974. There. Was a grand opening of of. A new structure. And Lincoln wrote with. With. These Spanish, roofs. That he had around world works and everything I don't know a lot of people, remember. That but, I do remember it very well as a little, boy and. They. Had a nice, event, there with the, the. Mayor of Miami Beach his name was Chuck Hall in 1974. And. He invited my grandmother's, and my god, to. Do. A show for the brand-new and at the new Lincoln Road in 1974. And. There, was artwork, all the way the case of, my, grandmother's, and my granddad and my dad and. People, fell in love with it ten people. Just looked. At it they looked a phone number that it was people, try to touch it and you know people that supposed to touch any art but it was so so. Realistic, so so. That is so cool. You know it was awesome you know it's a one-of-a-kind, artwork and. And. Then by 1975. The. My. Dad was married, at the Miami Beach Community, Church it, was only 22 years old at the time and. My. Parents were still together after. 45. Years and. And. Then, 78, I was born and then. I throughout the years I started watching, them doing the artwork I mean I. Grew up with art all of my life and. Also. When I'm walking down on, this one yellow away it's a you know it's such a wonderful the street because, I remember when the cars used to come by here and then we'll park her on here there was plenty of park at the time you know it, wasn't too much traffic like like, it is today you know but it. Was. Luther. Marion it's a very interesting street I mean I fell in love with it I mean I live down the street on, Hispaniola. Swimming. Away in Pennsylvania, on the corner of Pennsylvania. And you, know that was that was a wonderful place I lived. And you know we've, done apartment, building and then by 81. When I was three years old they. Brought the whole property, my grandmother's, and my dad and my you, knows of all the UH on, the income, that they made throughout the years with their work I mean a lot of people. Bought their work as even celebrities people. From all around the world and. You. Know and we fell in love that corner. House right there on this one go away in Pennsylvania. We. Lived there from 69. To 89, by, 1989, when, I was 11 years old we had to sell. The property because, um there. Was some some. Economical. Problems. I was going on with the finances, with the property. By, that time and then mr. Tony Goldman our. Wonderful. Friend about, bless his soul that he already, passed away a few years ago he.
He, Also fell. In love with my grandmother's, worked and. He became a huge, collector of my family's, artwork. The parkcentral tell, you know the Tiffany hotel holy, spray hotels and an Ocean Drive thanks. To Bar Harbor captain, fantasy, bill these wonderful, buildings you know if. It wasn't for her you know these buildings were have been here today and. So, on mister. Told me going was a wonderful, friend of the family and he. He helped us out a lot and he introduces a lot of people and he. Made a lot of connections on, and they're working throughout, the years in the 90s from the world from Bob Pennsylvania. To Collins. At 9th Street. We. Lived there for 10 years from, from. 1999. To the one outside from 1989. To, 2000. And, then. After. To the, year 2000. We had to. Move. Out to another location, and, mr.. Charlie Coleman gave. Us his space on the Park Central Hotel to, have a little. Meeting. Meetings, with the clients. And having a little studio working inside the. Hotel. To, you know to have clients, coming visited the hotel on the lobby and talked about the heart deco industry. And the, buildings and everything and talking about their artwork and that's, how they, made their uh the. So. And. Then. By -. After, 2001. 2003. - like, 2017. Worked really hard into, the very. Very last day until aid passed away in 2007. Right, my grandmother Haiti she passed away and. She. Was asleep while she passed, away and. Then. My grateful, God and she passed away seven. Months after they passed, away the same day that passed away seven months after May. Of 2008. And. Dating. Denny minista, harkening they worked work work work until the, very last day you, know end, and. On the Sun right now my. Dad he. Still does the artwork every part. Time because right now he's taking care of my mom my. Mom suffers, from diabetes. So, she's, she's, doing okay but. You, know I mean the, artwork of my grandmother's, is very very. Recognizable. And Miami, Beach in Miami all, over Miami Dade County and not. Only in Miami all over the world. Their, work is one. Of the nine extraordinary. And. You. Know if, it wasn't for a barber cabinet, for. Tony Goldwyn. Miami. Beach water wouldn't, have good goodness today. So. You know I just. Really. Appreciate. And. Thank you very much for having here, at tacos and teen toes and, you. Know god, bless everybody thank you. Co-founded, sta, architectural. Group in 1985. And his, formal, training, is an architectural. Preservation but, I got some real hands-on, practice, when he when he first graduated, and came back to, his hometown of Miami, Beach which, had been just recently been, historically. Designated. His, early projects, included, the, Clevelander, hotel, and the Raleigh hotel and. One of the things I thought was interesting was one of his public projects, is the known. As the 10th Street auditorium, I guess right. As the MDL. Building. And Welcome. Center but. Lifestyle taught, has seen this street in its worst. State, the. Downtrodden, and see, but, participated. In the first, restorations. In 1984. And. 1986. And when, he founded, his architectural. Company. The firm, their first office, was on Espanyol, away and was here for about ten years. Yeah. This brings back very, fond, memories and it, was recent, gravity over the University of Florida, and. I got a job with, Lester. Papeles I was, working in code. First. Rented. And, finally, bought. 12. And. So when. There. Was a program, and when Bernstein's, in the audience she ran that program for, the county which, was a sub 3 elimination. Program and. During. During. That time the early eighties that, was probably the, lowest. Economic, cycle. Language, and the. Were. A lot of plans for. Doing. Things that are brand or but the store. Owners really didn't have the ability, to really, put my hand and there was I think was like a thirty five hundred dollar grant that. The store owner we get and it was limited to paint signage, on. And it. Was only allowed. For stores. Or, stores, at fronted Washington. Avenue, unfortunately. A stimulant, leg does have a front on Washington, so. In 1984. We, did this we, were hired by the, state 3500, that was the total improvements. I think our fee was $50. But. We and unfortunately. Because there were so many buildings in Espanola way I think we got $50, for a building. But. It's um it. Was limited, to paint, signage, and awning and this was a remarkable transformation.
What. Sigh it. Was a tremendous, success then. In, 1986. We did the north side there, was a gentleman, named Jerry Sanchez, who came to, Miami and, he was a preservation. Contractor. That had a paint company and. So, he. Not. Only bought. The building off the north side but. He, wanted to use it as a showcase what, he could do and he, was emphatic, that not. Only would we work on the project, but we would have, to sign a lease with him and, have her office inside, variability. And. I think we were paying five dollars a, square foot and we were paying the most of any medical block and. We had. Ten. Year plus lease and. We were on top of the second, floor of the big building. Underneath. Those who speech poultry, which, was a phenomenal. And. It stayed there until you earn and then we were there during the fire got. One of features. We had in our entryway. Was a parrot, and, the therapist stay there all night and then the fire broke, out I knew. New, espanol, way welling up I could sneak around and. Go rescue the parent. But. It's I. I, love Miami Beach I've been living on Miami Beach I grew up in Miami but move might engage, in. The early 80s 82, and, had. Our office here from. 786. To 96, and then, we've moved to a Lincoln relative and, practicing. All. Types of projects. Fortunately. Doing some projects. For the city we did the, 10th. Street auditorium, which is that my design preservation, League headquarters and, heat Patrol headquarters we. Did in the fire. Station headquarters. In April of iron and Pine Street Drive we, were thought the monument. Island with, the the. Opposite, of a fish, fry. During. The restoration of that the. Hispanic community center. About relocating, that from Collins. Avenue to. Drive. And. Also. More. Recently the Jewish Community Center and, those are our public projects, but, we've done a lot of historic. Hotels. Restaurants. Clubs, one. Of the early clubs was down on the street on Espanola. Way called, the. Warsaw Ballroom. Saw. Barbara. That it was just a phenomenal, time to, be in such a phenomenal, place, mighty Beach during the 80s analogies and. To. This day I enjoy. Working working. On. Various, projects. You. Left the parrot in the fire story, out of our conversation. Great. Story. David. Berg is our final. Panelist, piece, of partner with infinity, real estate where he oversees, the firm's investment ventures. And implementation. Of strategy, in New York City Washington, DC, Philadelphia. And Miami, he's, been instrumental in, driving the company's acquisitions. Capital. Transactions. And. Development. Execution. With over 450, million dollars in, transactions. What. I found very interesting is that over half of the properties, in infinities portfolio. Have. Been historically, restored. As, David, said to me properties, that are less small like and have more, character, certainly. When they got love-nest money away that property, met that, criteria. In, 2015. The owner of the clay hotel, asked, Infiniti real estate to partner, with them and to, renovate, and restore the clay hotel that, work is now ongoing and. In. The meantime David, is a very active, member of the development, community here, in Miami Beach he's. Vice president, of the Espanola, Way Association. A member, of the board of directors of the Ocean Drive Association. An advisory. Member of the Washington, Avenue, Business, Improvement District. So, david has maybe, more and more recent history in there talk a little bit about where. They are now where we're headed. So. Just. A quick background cuz, we're. From New York and fresh. Water the streets Infiniti, real estate is an owner/operator developer, base that have been happening, but. Over 50% of our projects. Are historically, development, revitalization. Projects. So in every major city that we focus on we, typically go to, historic. Streets such as Ocean, Drive Espanola. Way blueberry.
Street In Boston. Just, a straight go on Street in Broad Street and in Philadelphia, and, this is really our bread and butter which is preserving. Historic. Projects. In. 2015, we got involved in this project by. Chance we entered, mighty Beach as. An investment in 2014. With, progress on Ocean Drive we were introduced to the owner of the, clay hotel who, was owned fluence property for over 26, years and. We. Ran it as a hostile and bearing. Different uses, over that over that ownership period. The. Project. Whenever, we get involved in any historic project our main focus is to draw on the history but, we look back with it with it with this story and to look back that start, resources, and determine. What was the initial. Impetus. For the project, from the initial architected initial initial builder so this, is a similar quote that, said it wasn't already said but this is the inspiration for our redevelopment which is that this. Was from Miami. News 1925. The. Spanish village by a beach is destined, to, become a famous place among the artists intellectuals of, the nation so, I think, the initial vision for, this street, was Spanish though it was an artist type of colony, and. The. Clay gonna hope that was actually initially called Espanola. As as the first name of the hotel but. We are focused on doing with, our projects, is bringing, back. The. Artists nature the artist colony history, of this project throughout. The time and I think everyone's touched on a little bit the, streets gone through the ups nouns of. Different. Attractions. It was a destination. And a Jazz Age it was a gambling, ring in the, Capone days an. Artist colony initially. The. Red-light district, at some point ends and, today, it's really one of my Beach's premier tourist destinations. And a street that we, think has more charm than anywhere else in Miami Beach and should. Be a destination for, both locals, and tourists alike so. Our. Focus will our renovation. And redevelopment, is to draw. On the history of each of these components, pay homage to this. Bygone. Era and a. Little. Bit of a sneak preview of we're doing will be renaming, the the project to that Joya haute out which means gem, in Spanish and, we're going to really try to reintroduce this village, type of approach. Most. People don't know is behind the. Walls. Of both Scott's property, and our property these, beautiful Paseos the Spanish decorating. Sales that are underutilized and, and, not really trafficking, right now, our. Intent, is to bring. More of a mentor a nyan or European. Village feel to these Paseos into the street and. Draw on the history, of this this artists colony and his village filled two things. The. Other property, that we own as promised right on Drexel which, was actually called and, still is called village Matanzas, which, means Massacre, in Spanish. So this is where yeah we're actually gonna kid enough. We're gonna keep that name and. That building will be gone casa matanza. And. Draw on the history, of the, component, gambling this so. That's. Our intense we focused stop might work together a lot focus a lot on the Espanola y Association, which, is a almost. Like self-governing, association, with. The city support, and all of the tenants support two set. Of rules regulations, guidelines. Throw. Events similar, to this we think when, throwing the Southern. Wine a food event we've had different. Corporate buyouts, we. Have the mayor's event one year we do the air and sea show event every every single order weekend. So. That's, what we're looking to focus on programming, and really creating. A isolated. Village but, in this area and and bring. People. Outside. Of the hustle and bustle of South Beach and into our our village, which we think that's a different feel it's. Much, more charming than, anywhere else you can find on. South Beach and and. Really bring attention to the, Mediterranean. Revival architecture which, you can't find anywhere else so that's. I think that's something, a little brand. And marketing message that people are missing which, is that it's not, differentiated. That's a different architectural, experience and you can find anywhere else on the on the beach so.
That's, Uh aren't, a little house thank. You. You.