Real Estate

Fortress-Like Art Museum to Be Approved for Biscayne Boulevard

The Fairholme Capital headquarters and art museum is a bizarre thing. First of all, it's going to look like some sort of fortress from a dystopian sci-fi movie. Secondly, it will be part open-to-the-public art museum and part equity fund management offices (which unintentionally says a lot about the state of the commodification of art).

Though, New Times doesn't necessarily have anything against bizarre things, and we guess we're going to have to learn to love this thing, because it looks like it's nearing final approval from the City of Miami. 

Fairholme Capital manager Bruce Berkowitz announced his plans for the eye-popping museum/office building about a year ago, but soon grew disillusioned with how long the City of Miami was taking to approve his plans. The city says it was having trouble squaring the odd building with guidelines set out by the Miami 21 building codes. Berkowitz grew so impatient that he almost threw in the towel, but according to the Miami Herald a host of Miami's art-loving rich people including Norman Braman (who funds the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami) and Martin Margulies (who has his own private museum as well) came forward to encourage Berkowitz to stay the path and put pressure on the city's planning board to approve the idea. And, well, what do you know, the city stopped dragging its heels and is expected to give Berkowitz the final green light sometime this week. 

A few tweaks were made to the original plan. An underground parking lot has been nixed in favor of a surface lot in the back, and a raised platform at the front of the building has been eliminated to make the area more pedestrian friendly. Otherwise, the originally inverted pyramid structure of the five-story building remains. It will be located on what is currently a vacant lot at 2626 Biscayne Blvd. in the booming Edgewater neighborhood.

Offices for Berkowitz's fund management firm and his charity fund will be located on the top floors while the art museum will take up the bottom floors. The museum will include two giant works of modern art. Richard Serra’s 218-foot sculpture, Passage of Time, will sit outside, adding to the dystopian vibes. James Turrell’s trippy light installation, Aten Reign, originally designed in 2013 for New York City's Guggenheim Museum, will be the star inside. The rest of the work will be made up of pieces from the Berkowitz family art collection, though we can't find much information on what that includes. 

The museum will be the latest example of the so call "Miami model," essentially the idea of museums being run by private collectors and mainly featuring their own personal collection of art. The Fairholme Capital museum will join the Rubell Family Collection, the Margulies Warehouse, the Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz’s Collection Contemporary Art Space, and Ella Fontanals-Cisneros’ CIFO Art Space as privately run museums in the city.