Arts
7:40 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

Bacardi Buildings To Become New Arts Headquarters

The iconic Bacardi Tower and Museum located north of downtown Miami has been sold.

And in keeping with its artistic exterior, its interior will serve as a new home to the arts.

National YoungArts, Foundation,  created by Ted and Lin Arison in 1981, will set up shop in the blue-and-white-tiled building, which was designated historic in 2009.

The tower and the nearby smaller stained-glass building complex will be revamped in part by Frank Gehry, who designed the New World Symphony's home on Miami Beach.

The purchase price is $10 million.

The main tower was completed in 1963 and the annex was finished in 1975.

The structures were the Bacardi USA headquarters until the company moved to Coral Gables in 2009.

The eight- story main tower was designed by Enrique Gutierrez, a collaborator of Miles van der Rohe, and features vibrant exterior walls accented with in 28,000 tiles by the Brazilian artist Francisco Brennand.

The smaller annex building is known as the "Jewel Box" and was designed by Ignacio Carrera-Justiz, with colorful glass mosaic walls based on designs by German artist Johannes Dietz to illustrate his inspiration of steps used in the rum-making process.

"If we ever had to let go of these buildings, all of us at Bacardi knew we wanted to ensure they would continue to be shared with the South Florida community. The heritage and significance of these buildings will be with Bacardi forever," says Facundo L. Bacardi.

He is the fifth generation family member and Chairman of the Board of Bacardi Limited.

"I have seen the tremendous benefit in promoting the arts and Miami as a cultural hub and couldn't be more proud to have this organization continue the legacy of community dedication that started inside these buildings in 1963," Bacardi says.

YoungArts identifies and assists artists aged 15 and up and pairs them with established masters such as Placido Domingo, Michael Tilson Thomas and Robert Redford.

The organization estimates it's helped more than 16,000 young artists in its 31-year history.

"The development of this headquarters will benefit young artists across the country," says Paul T. Lehr, Executive Director of National YoungArts. "Moreover, by acquiring the Bacardi campus, we are able to honor and preserve an important part of Miami's cultural history and plan to make it a thriving arts and cultural center for our community."

Alumni of National Arts Foundation include Vanessa Williams, Kerry Washington and Nicki Minaj.

For more information, go to youngarts.org