When Tony Goldman turned onto Ocean Drive for the first time in 1985, he saw past the hopeless ghetto that it had become, with empty and abandoned buildings. He saw a gold mine... the American Riviera.
He immediately took a picture in his mind. And spent the next 10 years developing the image.
In this picture, Goldman envisioned a place with an international heartbeat, full of beautiful people of all sizes, shapes, colors and ages and that's exactly what has evolved.
But how did Goldman Properties help to create this resurrection? Respect for time is the key to the answer. Goldman never tears down history. He bought and regenerated 18 properties, among them The Hotel (formerly the Tiffany Hotel), and The Park Central Hotel. Innovative retail stores began to line Collins Avenue and an award-winning parking garage was designed and built in partnership with the City of Miami Beach in preparation for the crowds that Goldman knew would come.
But restoration alone wasn't enough to reinvent South Beach. So he did three more things. First, he created a home for fashion powerhouses, modeling agencies, photographers and production companies. Secondly, he successfully helped to take a $3 million bond issue to the voters to widen Ocean Drive to create a promenade. Now with more than 40 cafes, it's the quintessential place for people-watching in Florida.
Finally, in order to improve the streets, he organized his colleagues and competitors to set in place South Florida's first Business Improvement District.
Today, Ocean Drive generates well over $100 million annually, from next to nothing 17 years ago.
With all these changes, pedestrians could again have the joy of discovering the area's beautiful architecture on foot in a clean and safe environment.
Come to think of it, today's South Beach is exactly like the picture Tony Goldman saw 17 years ago... a picture of an interactive and diverse cosmopolitan community. A timeless and preserved art deco neighborhood. A pure piece of Americana saved and reinvented for millions to enjoy.