Wynwood is now a Business Improvement District

Lester's at night. Photography by Gesi Schilling
Lester’s at night.
Photography by Gesi Schilling

By Stephanie Turk

June 5, 2013 – MIAMI, FL – June 4th marked the final day of voting to designate the Wynwood Arts District as a Business Improvement District (BID). An overwhelming 274 affirmative ballots cast by commercial property owners in Wynwood, voted the BID into action, either by mail over the past few weeks, or in person yesterday, at The Wynwood Walls. By approving the designation, commercial property owners will tax themselves yearly, based on the size of the property owners’ folios, amounting to $700,000 annually for the next 10 years. The taxes are invested into making Wynwood a brighter and cleaner environment, by providing basic necessities, such as waste receptacles, street lighting, and increased surveillance. The fund will also provide financial support for various Arts initiatives, such as the Wynwood Ways crosswalks, helping to evolve the Wynwood Arts District into a well curated, international outdoor center.

Wynwood realtor and developer, David Lombardi of Lombardi Properties explains the significance on voting for the BID. ”We accomplished yesterday an incredible milestone for the evolution of Wynwood. It literally took dozens of us to make this happen and that’s no small feat when you think that those dozens of us had to unite on a common vision and a common goal for our beloved neighborhood. We should all be very proud that we made this happen and it truly was a group effort. But also, it is really just the beginning because now, the work begins, deciding where to allocate the money and prioritizing different initiatives in the neighborhood. I’m really thrilled and proud that this has become my life’s work, now that I’m 13 years in, and I think with this bid, the momentum is going to be incredible.”

By enacting the ten year measure, Wynwood property owners are looking to strengthen and compound their investment in the neighborhood. Once a manufacturing and industrial hub, portions of the Arts District have been re-zoned over the past decade to include commercial and residential tenants. Considering new retailers are opening up shop and condo developments are about to hit the market in Wynwood, the BID will provide resources to elevate the quality of life in the neighborhood.

Wynwood BID Project Director, David Collins remarks, “The overwhelming victory on June 4th established the Wynwood Business Improvement District, which will be a catalyst for real improvement in Wynwood over the next 10 years. We have entered through a portal into an amazing future. Wynwood will change for the better everyday from now forward.”

Looking forward, Jose Nava, Director for the Wynwood Arts District Association echoes his sentiment, “now that we have officially succeeded in establishing a Business Improvement District in Wynwood, we have the real challenge ahead of us, but we also have the right tools to get to work and make some real improvements. We are past the first relevant milestone, but this is just the beginning of an even greater future. With the BID, we will now be able to substantially increase our efforts on security, sanitation, marketing, and community development.”

The remainder of the year will be spent determining how to allocate the funds, whereas distributing the finances is set to occur at the top of next year in 2014. “Now, we have additional funds to cultivate the Arts in the neighborhood,” explains Joe Furst of Goldman Properties. “The BID passed with a 65 percent approval rate, which means that every property owner is passionate about evolving the neighborhood. We can now supplement WADA’s activities and focus on more Arts related programming.”

Art Basel and the satellite Art fairs that come to Miami in December, help to increase the interest in and attention to the artsy neighborhood. Expect to watch Wynwood evolve into the mega creative hub it’s growing to be.


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