Real Estate

Fashion Brand Diesel Is Building a Luxury Wynwood Apartment Complex

Fashion Brand Diesel Is Building a Luxury Wynwood Apartment Complex
Courtesy of Diesel
Miami's Wynwood used to be a low-income neighborhood full of warehouses and fashion-supply companies. Then it morphed into a neighborhood full of art galleries. Now developers are pricing out cool places such as the Wynwood Yard. The lone arthouse movie theater is on its way out while condo towers and a microcity called the Americas-Asia Trade Center are on the way in.

And now, to complete the gentrification cycle, Wynwood is getting a 143-unit apartment complex designed by the Italian high-end fashion brand Diesel.

The company trumpeted its new plans in a release this afternoon. The investors claim the project will "seamlessly fit" into the neighborhood. This is both hilarious and darkly true because glass-walled residential buildings are, indeed, popping up in Wynwood at a rapid clip.

Diesel's founder, Renzo Rosso, issued the following statement today:
Diesel Living is the first true concept of modern living by a fashion brand. It reflects the lifestyle of today’s young generations, moving around the world and living life on their own terms. It reflects their ‘social’ way of interpreting their residences, spaces where they live, work, entertain friends – spaces that say a lot about them and their personality. Diesel Living helps them to do just that: show the world who they are. I am sure this new project is only the beginning of a new exciting adventure.
According to the release, the project will also include 24,000 square feet of retail space and "loft-style" apartments. Diesel and its project partner, Miami-based Bel Investment Group, plan to begin preselling units in the first quarter of 2019. They have not yet announced a completion date or an address for the development.
click to enlarge COURTESY OF DIESEL
Courtesy of Diesel
This isn't the first so-called brand-curated residential tower in Miami: The Porsche Design Tower, an ultraluxury complex with elevators designed to lift cars into residents' homes, debuted in Sunny Isles Beach in March 2017 with a performance by pop star Alicia Keys. The tower has since been linked to multiple money-laundering investigations, including a massive federal probe into cash that high-level Venezuelan officials allegedly siphoned out of their nation and into South Florida.

Italian fashion brand Missoni is also building a 649-foot-tall luxury tower in nearby Edgewater. (Haute couture companies Versace, Giorgio Armani, and Bulgari have built apartment towers in various cities as well.)

But though a fashion label erecting a tower in Miami isn't that big a deal, the fact that the complex is coming to Wynwood, supposedly Miami's Brooklyn, is sure to raise eyebrows. Wynwood's rapid gentrification isn't exactly a secret — locals rightfully expressed outrage when developers this year announced plans to bulldoze the Wynwood Yard and O Cinema. But residential towers are still a fairly new development for the area, which had banned high-rises until 2015. After that legal shift, new condo and apartment complexes popped up — and Wynwood is now quickly morphing into an extension of the Design District to the north. (In the meantime, Miami is still suffering a housing-affordability crisis, and residents in nearby Little Haiti are fighting almost daily to prevent landowners from taking over the neighborhood.)

Of course, any complaining about Wynwood gentrification is basically moot, because one man — billionaire Moishe Mana — owns about 25 percent of the neighborhood's land and plans to bulldoze most of the area to build a microcity. Wynwood's days as an arts district were never going to last.
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.