How creativity is changing commercial real estate

Art does a lot for people. It appeals to our creative nature; it’s personal; its expression touches something in all of us. In the words of Pablo Picasso, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”

The same sentiment can be said about art in communities. By embracing creativity, neighborhoods are learning that art can wash off their dust. We’ve seen that with Miami’s Wynwood district and Fort Lauderdale’s FAT Village, and now with Little Haiti. This time, though, things are a little different.

An artist’s life in Miami

Miami is a city born and bred on art. From its Art Deco architecture and the mix of cultures to the draw of creative souls from around the world and the abundance of light and color, the city is a palette of creative juices. The fact that it had an abundance of available, cheap, and often large empty spaces also didn’t hurt.

There is a caveat, though – and that’s the word “had.” When a neighborhood such as Wynwood thrived as a result of art, rents increased and developers and owners turned their properties into more lucrative projects.

Artists and gallery owners were forced to downsize and/or face rent increases. While some found a haven in donated or discounted spaces, these deals were often short-term. As a result, many artists and gallerists, no longer satisfied with art-powered gentrification, had to get creative with real estate.

Art’s new wave

For artists known for being free-spirited, it all came down to control. If they wanted to maintain an artistic foothold and have a say in how a neighborhood was developed, and to not be priced out, they would have to become developers in their own right.

In addition to needing their own studio space, many artists also needed space to display their work, as well as the work of other local artists and pop-up installations. In some cases, artists needed a place to live.

There were also the matters of accessibility and affordability – and one neighborhood quickly rose to the top of the list: Little Haiti.

If you build it …

Nestled between Wynwood and the Design District, Little Haiti is now a center for cultural tourism – thanks in large part to the indie arts movement. The main thoroughfare, NE 2nd Avenue, is lined with galleries and commercial art storefronts.

Now that the galleries are open and tourists are arriving, so too are the other businesses. Wynwood coffeehouses and bars are now opening locations in Miami’s newest arts district. The difference is that in Little Haiti, the artists are calling the shots.

Morris Southeast Group is thrilled to be a part of the diversity that is South Florida, from its people to its neighborhoods. In the decades that our doors have been opened, we’ve seen communities thrive, stumble, and then be reborn into something new and exciting.

Our team of professionals is able to connect investors and developers to the right property for today and tomorrow. For a free consultation, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at