When developers Russell Galbut and Jorge Perez revealed their quickly nixed plans to build the largest condo tower on South Beach at 500 Alton earlier this year, they talked about it as their "legacy." That's nothing new. For years South Florida developers have been pretending their business deals are something greater than they are, and that glistening towers meant for the über-rich will leave some sort of hallowed legacy for all the citizens of Miami.
But this "legacy" business has gotten out of control. There's a strange new trend of rich Miamians trying to make giant additions of phallic-like structures to our skyline in any way possible and calling it a legacy.
"I view this as a legacy opportunity," said developer Jeff Berkowitz on his idea to erect his divisively designed R-shaped SkyRise observational tower. "It will forever cement Miami on the list of great world cities."
As if great world cities are measures by height.
Healthcare billionaire Mike Fernandez has recently unveiled plans to build the country's tallest flag poll on Parcel B in downtown Miami and has framed it as some sort of gift to the city. Another project supposedly meant to cement us as a world city.
It seems every dude (and it always seems to be dudes) with an extra $100 million in the bank or so wants there chance to erect something giant over Miami.
Which, fine, but let's not pretend this is the best use of your funds to leave some sort of positive legacy for Miami.
"Big and tall" does not necessarily equal meaningful anyway. Our sister blog Cultist recently ran a series on Miami's architectural landmarks. Skyrises are the exception on that list. Instead most of the buildings have history and meaning to their local communities.
The Freedom Tower is now dwarfed by the ritzy luxury condos around it, but it has more of a history and legacy than any of its downtown neighbors. It has actual history, and a shared history that will always mean more than any thing a billionaire with a whim wants to fabricate.
Let's also not forget the legacy of global warming may one day topple any sort of concrete legacies on Miami's shores.
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In fact there's an idea for an actual legacy: be the first leading city to convince local and state leaders to take the threat of rising sea levels seriously.
Not your cup of tea? Well, there are also the issues of underfunded libraries, mass income inequality, and terrible public transport.
Want to leave a real legacy in Miami? Use your money and efforts to do something good on any of those real problems instead of spending millions just so people can stare at the giant phallus you erected decades after you're gone.