Iconic "I Remember Paradise" Building in Wynwood Demolished for Parking Garage

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The most obvious metaphor in Miami gentrification history is playing out in Wynwood this week. One of the neighborhood's iconic murals, which bemoaned humanity's gradual slide from paradise to urban hell, has been demolished to pave the way for the neighborhood's first high-rise parking garage.

The building, on the corner of NW 27th Street and NW Third Avenue, directly across from the zebra-striped Wynwood building (and New Times headquarters), used to exclaim "I remember paradise" to passersby:

As of this morning, the building — which has inspired scores of Twitter and Facebook banner photos, and has served as the backdrop for hundreds of wedding photos, modeling shots, and low-budget hip-hop videos — is officially rubble:

New Times tagged along as artist Lakwena Maciver painted the mural in 2013 —  the work was commissioned as part of the Women on the Walls art series, which aimed to celebrate the rise of female street art. Because it's convenient to report on news that's literally across the street from your office, fellow New Times editor Ciara LaVelle captured a great photo of the building mid-demolition yesterday:

Too literal, Wynwood. Too literal.

A photo posted by Ciara LaVelle (@ciaralavelle) on

Goldman Properties, one of the largest landowners and developers in Wynwood (along with megadeveloper Moishe Mana), owns the lot and announced plans in May 2015 to raze the area south of the Wynwood Building to build the area's only major parking garage. And for good reason: Parking is scarce in the area, especially near the main thoroughfare of NW Second Avenue.

As Wynwood rapidly morphed into a tourism hot spot, City of Miami officials quickly tapped the vein of out-of-towner cash and began siphoning parking money into its coffers. As of 2014, nearly all the street parking in Wynwood was free — until the city instituted its (admittedly convenient) pay-by-phone parking system. Now the area is officially getting a full-on garage, bringing the neighborhood one step closer to its neighbors midtown, Design District, downtown, and South Beach.

And because this is Miami, land of outré parking garages, Wynwood's structure will at least be covered in artwork:

Miamians might complain about the incoming high-rise, but the garage is basically a necessity given the city's plans for Wynwood in the next decade. In July, the city approved construction plans for three multistory apartment towers — one, called Wynwood 25, will add 289 rental units a few blocks southeast, right next to Panther Coffee on NW Second Avenue.

Like it or not — and some don't — the Wynwood apartment boom is here. But nobody will move here if they can't park.

In the meantime, we'll be collecting donations to help someone paint an I Remember 'I Remember Paradise' mural.

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