About a year and a half ago, the Wynwood Yard, Miami's first culinary incubator and community hub, enlivened a stretch of empty lots in the arts district, bringing pop-up food trucks, a full-service bar, and a packed roster of rotating entertainment and activities. Now, founder and CEO Della Heiman is gearing up to open an outpost in North Beach.
"It was never my idea to have multiple locations," she says, "but the way the community has responded to it is so inspiring, and because of that, we started to think more seriously about replicating the concept."
Eight months ago, Miami Beach Commissioner Ricky Arriola approached Heiman about opening a Yard concept in North Beach. This past April, he raised the idea with the North Beach Steering Committee, where it was unanimously endorsed. It was then vetted by the commission. The city's finance committee is working on a lease, and the land-use committee is addressing issues such as noise.
"The idea has been very well received," Heiman says. "It's so great to see this much support from the commission and the community. Ultimately, our goal is to add more vibrancy and life to the North Beach area, and to see the outpouring of support shows that the community really wants it."
The North Beach Yard would occupy the city-owned west lots across from North Shore Open Space Park. The concept would be similar to the Wynwood Yard but would have a more entrepreneurial focus.
"We want to have more of a retail component in North Beach," she says. "We also want to add a very large organic farm where onsite restaurants can source ingredients from, as well as a farm stand for customers to purchase fresh produce."
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Heiman also hopes to transform a historic log cabin into an artists' showcase. "We would like to allocate each room to a different artist," she says, "and also host local singer and songwriters."
Though the North Beach Yard is only in the early stages of development, Heiman is optimistic. "A lot of people give me credit for what has happened at the Wynwood Yard," she says. "It took a village to create this, and it's an honor to work with such an incredible staff and group of entrepreneurs."
Heiman is open to expanding the Yard concept in other neighborhoods across South Florida. "We're definitely thinking about more replications, but our main focus is to do things the right way," she says. "We're OK with taking the time to make sure we do things right."
Though the North Beach Yard's timeline is uncertain, Heiman hopes to open the outpost before the end of the year. Details on a public meeting will be announced in advance of any decision.