A hip-hop icon with a knack for post-skater attire and a Magic City architect have unveiled a very imaginative master plan to transform Overtown into a vibrant urban destination for skateboarders, artists, and fashionistas. But turning that dream into a reality is going to require a monumental effort to convince private property owners, residents, and politicians with a vested interest in Overtown that their development -- called Ice Cream City -- will restore the neighborhood.
Pharrell Williams, a Grammy award winning rapper and music producer, has teamed up with Chad Oppenheim to create the plan including indoor and outdoor skate parks, a big box retailer, ateliers and specialty workshops, a small business incubator, and new residential buildings. Click through for some conceptual images.
It will build around and adapt existing structures (even the crummy ones) and be extremely pedestrian oriented. It's also totally "bottom up," as opposed to the top-down dictatorial mentality of typical master plans. Ice Cream City is all about incubation rather than dictation, baby, and a wild amalgamation of a million bold ideas for the revitalization of a part of town more known for its urban blight and long-lost history than its cool architecture or bright future.
The conceptual drawings are drenched in Oppenheim's whimsical style. He's designed some astonishing structures around the world like the Net Metropolis in the Phillippines' capital of Manila and the Kirchplatz Residence in Muttenz-Basel, Switzerland.
Combined with Pharell's creative flair, Oppenheim envisions buildings with curved rooftops and jagged corners, live-work spaces with community courtyards, and a neighborhood drenched in a color palette of pistachio, strawberry, and bubblegum ice cream.
But Oppenheim and Pharrell have not yet announced how they plan to pull of their sorbet-in-the-sky redevelopment plan. Curbed Miami noted that details such as what developers are involved, who will foot the bill, and whether city and county leaders are on board with the plan are forthcoming.
We've left a message with Oppenheim's assistant seeking his comment on the plans; we'll update this post when we hear back.