Mar 4, 2024 - News

Miami's graffiti landmark is set to be demolished

The building at 100 S Biscayne Boulevard, which is covered in graffiti

An abandoned commercial complex downtown has been transformed into a graffiti-covered attraction. Photo: Martin Vassolo/Axios

Transformed by a group of graffiti artists from a downtown eyesore into a social media sensation, the old commercial complex across from Bayfront Park is slated to be demolished soon to build a luxury project.

  • But the art world isn't exactly mourning its loss.

The big picture: By its nature, graffiti is temporary. Pieces regularly get covered up by other artists, painted over by property owners or torn to the ground.

Local artist Atomik was the first to tag the abandoned high-rise with his signature smiling oranges.

What they're saying: "Of course you want your stuff to last forever but nothing really lasts forever," Atomik, whose real name is Adam Vargas, tells Axios.

  • "That's how illegal graffiti works. It's not very important to exist for a long time," Berlin-based graffiti collective 1UP said in an Instagram message.

Flashback: Artists from across the world converged at One Bayfront Plaza during Art Basel last year to "graffiti-bomb" the 19-story tower.

Behind the scenes: Museum of Graffiti co-founder Alan Ket recently toured the building after a demolition company reached out about the possibility of the building owner selling some of the artwork for display.

  • The museum's not buying, Ket tells Axios in a statement.
  • "We believe that the best place for the art is on the side of the building for everyone to see in its natural environment as the artists intended."

Friction point: The city of Miami isn't a fan of the graffiti. Last week, the Code Enforcement Board ordered the property owners to cover up the graffiti in 30 days or face daily fines of $500, a spokesperson tells Axios.

What's next: The building, owned by Florida East Coast Realty, is going to be developed into a massive mixed-use project with office space, hotel rooms and residences.

  • The owners say it will be the tallest building in Miami at 1,049 feet.

What we're watching: Interior gutting has already begun and the city is currently reviewing a permit application for exterior demolition, the city spokesperson says.

  • Kevin Bean, a principal at demolition company Allied Bean, tells Axios he hopes to get the permit approved by April. Exterior demo could take between nine months and a year.
  • He says the city's permitting process is more laborious after a demolition accident last year in Brickell sent debris crashing onto the street.

The bottom line: "No one will be sad to see it go because everyone wants to see the future," Bean said.

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