Did you know that if you dig deep enough into the property records of any piece of real estate in the state of Florida you will find that all the land originally belonged to the Spanish Crown?
But ever since the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1821, land ownership has been like a hot potato, changing hands incessantly. Indeed, taking a deep look into any one piece of property (likely where you live, included) will reveal a surreal story for the ages.
Now, with the recently unveiled plans to construct a massive convention center and hotel on the former site of the Miami Arena, I wonder: How many different lives has this little piece of property had in the last 25 years, and what's next?
Here's a look:
The plan is to build a 58-story convention center complex for more than a billion dollars that would include a 500,000 square foot convention center, 1,800 hotel rooms and a 2,300 car garage. As the Miami Herald reports, the hotel would be the largest in South Florida, giving the proposed renovations to the Miami Beach Convention Center across the bay a run for the money.
The proposed development would link with Florida East Coast's future All Aboard Florida train station, with trains running between Miami and Orlando. Sky bridges would connect the site to the Overtown Metrorail station just across the street, making mass transit for locals easier.
GRAND CENTRAL PARK MIAMI
A pop-up park now sits on the site of the former Miami Arena. The park was built in 30 days with $200,000 of public funds by the Omni-Park West Redevelopment Association. The premises boast 250 native trees and 45,000 square feet of grass.
Recently, a pop-up skateboard park has taken hold on a paved portion of the larger park, drawing hundreds of skateboarders on some weekends (including this reporter.) It is under perpetual construction and development, with a mini-ramp being placed there within the last few weeks.
With street skating in the city all but dead due to high security in the best spots, this park has quickly become the center of Miami's skateboarding culture.
THE MIAMI ARENA
The Miami Arena was paid for by the City of Miami to the tune of $52 million. The arena played host to the Miami Heat between 1988 and 1999, as well as the Florida Panthers between 1993-1998 and the University of Miami basketball teams between 1988-2003. The venue has also seen its fair share of concerts and Arena Football teams.
Despite a NBA All-Star Game in 1990, by 1998 the arena had one of the lowest seating capacities in the league. In 2000, the Miami Heat moved into their current home just a few blocks east at the American Airlines Arena. The Panthers left to play at what is now the BB&T Center close to Sawgrass Mills.
Since 2004, the arena was pretty much idle. Then finally in 2008, the roof of the arena was imploded and the building demolished, leaving an abandoned lot in its place.