Driving through the intersection of NE First Avenue and Twelfth Street, near the I-395 on-ramp, a large banner hung on a chain-link fence caught my attention. It read: Space Made Downtown Happen.
“Space and this new district attracted not only locals, but also tourists from all over the world, and made people notice there was life in downtown,” Puig asserts. “With these visitors came real estate investors, business entrepreneurs, and developers who realized that there was opportunity and a future in this night life driven area just west of beautiful Biscayne Bay.”
Puig insists the new condos sprouting around downtown will be inhabited by “young productive people who are attracted to this area because of its night life, a major part of which is Space and the entertainment district.” Yet some people are not appreciating Space’s value to the community, Puig laments. “Lately these condo developers have been trying to convince the city to shut down the entertainment district by restricting operation times and enforcing city noise and other ordinances,” Puig said. “The banner is a friendly reminder to city officials and downtown developers not to forget how it all got started.”
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With all due respect to Space owner Luis Puig, I’m having a hard time correlating downtown’s redevelopment to his nightclub’s success. After all, I don’t know any Hialeah or Kendall ravers lining up to buy a $2.7 million penthouse at 900 Biscayne Bay. Maybe one day city leaders will cement Puig’s legacy and name a street after him a la Henry Flagler. --Francisco Alvarado