Here in Miami, perhaps more than in most other cities, buildings are a pretty big deal.
Some represent history, like South Beach's historic Art Deco towers. Others represent industry, or lack thereof, like the half-finished and barely occupied condo buildings that crowded the downtown skyline just a few years ago. They can represent art, like the Gehry-designed New World Center building; or money and, some might say, corruption, like Marlins Stadium or the Perez Art Museum Miami.
So we're surprised the popular real estate blog Curbed, part of the chain of blogs that includes Eater and Racked, is only just now getting around to launching a Miami edition. But it's here -- it launches today, in fact -- and it's looking like we'll all be a lot more knowledgeable about one of our city's most important and least examined industries for it.
"For a major city, there's not very much real estate or architecture-specific news," Sean McCaughan, the editor of the new Curbed Miami, said. Sure, you get little snippets of news here and there, he continued, but there's no news source entirely dedicated to the business of buildings in Miami. Can you name a widely published architecture critic in this town? Neither can he. "Architectural discussion does happen at UM, but outside of that little niche, there's nothing." And that should matter to all locals, he says, not just architecture nerds. "There's very little discussion, and it's detrimental for the city. There's very little feedback from [the community]."
But don't expect dry, boring examinations of who's building where, or what a certain awning means in the historical context of building design. "We'll add readability and entertainment value," McCaughan said. "It brings entertainment value to traditional trade real estate journalism -- stuff like, 'foreclosures are up 20 percent' or 'so-and-so broke ground on this development.'" You'll still hear about that news, he said -- it'll just be reported in an interesting and relatable way. Geekiness not required.
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A peek at the new site confirms his claims. Mingling with stories about new hotel construction and an increase in luxury home sales is a look inside Richard Nixon's former Florida home, and artist Misael Soto's Miami Beach installation, a "giant beach towel hogging prime real estate" on the sands at 41st Street. A story on Cartier's opening, McCaughan says, is "part of the story of the genesis of the Design District, the giant shift from a design-focused area to a mall, a Bal Harbour-like space."
"The news about FriendsWithYou leaving, which is very sad, works for us because of their public installations," he continues. "They create places."
Visit Curbed Miami at miami.curbed.com.