Miami’s Newest Hotspot Is A Parking Garage?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

This time of the year, folks from all over the world flock to the white sand beaches and warm temperatures of South Florida (especially those of the New York persuasion). And like many a hip city around the world, Miami is home to an ever-rotating cast of hotspots for the wealthy and connected to attempt to elbow their way in, whether it be the newest club or fashionable dining outpost. So it may surprise some that this year, the most notable new opening on the palm-fringed streets of Miami Beach comes not in the form of a dancing, food or art, but well, in the form of parking.

Located on the spot of a former bank building, the noted Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron’s (of the Beijing Olympics “Bird’s Nest” stadium fame) 1111 Lincoln Road parking garage has been garnering more attention than pretty much anything else that’s opened in the city in the last few years. Robert Wennett, the lot owner, spent $65 million dollars and interviewed 10 of the best firms in the world before deciding on the current open-air Kubrick-esque garage that has received reviews — that in it of itself is a milestone — from everyone from The New Yorker (“glamorous,” “spectacular) to The Architectural Review (“a sumptuous work of architecture, both playful and expressive”).

And since this is Miami after all, the well-heeled and fashionable don’t want to be left out, even if they don’t really have any reason to park there. As the NY Times found out, Floridians are finding more uses for the building than anyone could have ever imagined:

Yet here in Miami Beach, whose aesthetic is equal parts bulging biceps and fluorescent pink, bridal couples, bar mitzvah boys and charity-event hosts are flocking to what seems like the unimaginable marriage of high-end architecture and car storage: a $65 million parking garage in the center of the city.

They are clamoring to use it for wine tastings, dinner parties and even yoga classes. Or taking self-guided tours, snapping photographs and, at times, just gawking.

So good news for soon-to-be travelers who may be weary of shelling out $60 covers or buying $200 bottles of wine. Your access to the cream of Miami hipness is just one short drive away. Sunglasses optional.

[111 Lincoln Road by Hassan Bagheri/Flickr]

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