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It's a shimmering silver worm of a skyscraper, featuring 80 stories rotating independently and elevators designed for taking your Ferrari right up to your apartment with you. File Italian architect David Fisher's über-audacious proposal with the $1 billion Fountainebleau renovation as evidence that Miami developers are hoping to simply will away this pesky recession.
The mega-ambitious Fisher, who looks something like a wild-eyed Jimmy Carter, already has a "Dynamic Tower," as he calls his concept, in the works in Dubai. It is scheduled for completion by 2010. And, he says, Moscow is next. It's difficult to deny the idea's unique brilliance: Every 20,000-square-foot floor will be prefabricated in an Italian factory, and the units will be mounted on a concrete core from the top down. Each apartment will have a parking spot right outside its front door. The movement of the floors will be controlled by computer and powered by horizontal wind turbines spinning between each level. The price tag: somewhere in the $6,000-per-square-foot range. How much is that for each apartment? "A few dozens of millions of dollars," Fisher casually speculates in his thick Italian accent during a press conference at the Mandarin Oriental hotel on Brickell. But don't call Fisher an elitist — at least not to his face. He envisions these prefabricated, spinning, self-powered skyscrapers as the "new philosophy of construction" and predicts that one day poor people will be living in more cost-efficient versions of the same concept. "I have no doubt the building of the future will be built like this," he says. "It's not only for the super-rich. Now, yes. But it's also to start a global movement."
The Miami tower is still just a gleam in Fisher's eye. He doesn't even have a certain proposed location yet, although he envisions downtown. And then there's the matter of cost: Fisher declines to estimate, but his Dubai tower should run near $700 million, half of that, he says, to be ponied up by advance buyers. Can Miami scare up that many willing fat cats? "I would like to believe we can sell it here," Fisher waxes optimistically. "Miami is a warm place, where people are open to new design and movements. It's a sexy city."
Well, he's on the right track. Flattery has always been the way to Miami's wallet.