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Paradise Evolution

This issue presents a departure from my usual pretty pictures to reveal a different side of my personal work. Over the past thirty-plus years I have been intimately involved with producing imagery for the marketing of numerous high-profile residential and commercial developments in south Florida. During that time I watched the skyline and community change before my lens. Along the way I have documented neighborhoods surrounding downtown Miami as they transform and gentrify. Quiet streets and single family homes give way to high-rise condos and townhomes in an ever-changing skyline. To follow is a series of images that documents the transformation as vintage Miami is replaced by new modern structures.

 

Demolition of the Everglades Hotel, downtown Miami 2005

 

Historic Freedom Tower

Miami’s Freedom Tower watches over the downtown transformation.

 

The Edgewater neighborhood on the north side of downtown Miami along the Biscayne Bay waterfront is rapidly evolving. Once dotted with majestic, waterfront homes and cozy bungalows this area has seen the most dramatic changes during the recent building booms.

The inlet at North Bayshore Drive and NE 28th St

The inlet at North Bayshore Drive and NE 28th St

The inlet at North Bayshore Drive and NE 28th St.

The inlet at North Bayshore Drive and NE 28th St. was once occupied by several historic mansions. The sixty story Onyx condo tower now occupies the waterfront. Image from 2006.

 

I have always had an affinity for arts and crafts and bungalow-style architecture. This neighborhood contains many structures of this style with a Miami flavor. Some of the buildings here have been left to decay and owners are cashing in on ever higher values. Contrary to that trend some intrepid residents are maintaining these time capsules of history.

1920's vintage wooden home at 458 NE 25th St.

1920’s vintage wooden home at 458 NE 25th St. surrounded by modern apartment buildings, 2005

 

This example shows a classic bungalow as development moves in. It was recently demolished to make way for a high-rise.

1920's classic wooden bungalow, 2004

1920’s classic wooden bungalow, 2004

Same bungalow, 2008

Same bungalow, 2008

 

Fortunately this pretty little house was recognized for its historic value and moved to a new location. Preservationists and developers are often at odds and it’s nice to see this solution to save a few pieces of history.

1920's Dade County Pine bungalow at 404 NE 25th St.

House movers rescue a 1920’s Dade County Pine bungalow at 404 NE 25th St. Photo from 2005.

 

Before it was rediscovered in the early 2000s Edgewater was in decline with seedy apartments mixed with well-loved vintage and historic homes. Developers are now selling some of the best waterfront views in Miami here. It will be interesting to see what it looks like when the transformation is complete. In the mean time this evolution gives me plenty to photograph and generations that follow can get a glimpse of how we used to live through my images.

Northeast 26th Street

Northeast 26th Street in the heart of the Edgewater district next to Biscayne Bay

The "Something About Mary" movie house

The “Something About Mary” movie house on North Bayshore Drive at NE 21st St. Paramount Bay condo tower now occupies the site. Image captured in 2004.

 

Nothing is certain in this world except change and we are witnessing the evolution of our paradise.

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