2020-21 | FATVillage - Equitable Real Estate Development

FATVillage, the downtown historic warehouse district, is burgeoning with productivity. Techies, designers, artists, and creative professionals call this daytime enclave home. Just miles north of Miami, soon under 30 minutes by high-speed rail, and with direct access as far north as Orlando. FATVillage has and is further developing an integration with artists and designers. An untold number of artists in Miami found opportunity in FATVillage during their journeys. The four block district itself is named after the 501c3 non-profit arts organization FATVillage Arts District Inc. Property owners Doug McCraw and Lutz Hofbauer created it to rally philanthropic support around sustaining an artist community. In 2015 the not-for-profit won a Knight Arts Challenge matching grant.

Despite not having the favorable collective forces, the sort that created the art hub in Miami via targeted investments from the private and public-sectors (cash and caché) building an art ecosystem, FATVillage has weathered the storms (literal and metaphorical) with resilience. No real stories of this community having to move north, west, or from one place to another at the whim of real estate deals. Exceeding demand, with a lack of square foot inventory, has forced FATVillage to watch tenant success stories move to bigger spaces elsewhere. Facing steadily rising values, and numerous opportunities/pressures to follow the typical narrative (handing over to market pegged development void of artist sustainability), the property owners have stayed the course ‘protecting’ the artistic mix for 17+ years. This is highly unusual on a national scale, especially amidst the greater displacement story of art communities worldwide. In future terms, this is a less speculative model of a district serving a creative cluster, and the gains afforded to the greater community. FATVillage is older than Wynwood Arts District, and Art Basel’s presence in Miami. It is factually more stable in respect to its homestead. In 2016 a new arts organization was welcomed, ArtsUP! An experimental gallery with an interdisciplinary concept founded by Neil Ramsay. Neil with a background in economics and finance, has been subsequently named Director of FATVillage Arts District Inc. The interdisciplinary fusion will see more concepts incubated on this campus of sorts, and spun-out from FATVillage. One being the already city-approved streetscape, which promises to be a work of art and technology in itself. FATVillage, an unpretentious curio of artistic-processes and creative developments is also about to embrace the culinary arts.

FATVillage incubates artists blending them with the professional business, design and technology talent on-site. This produces art not in the traditional sense, or not how we may be accustomed to seeing it. FATVillage has launched companies with its resident artists, and tenant-creatives in partnership. ART + LIGHT + SPACE, The Projects, FAR, and next in line (no pun intended) CUUE. ART + LIGHT + SPACE is soon to turn one of the city’s most prominent structures, into the city’s most prominent art work. The Projects at FATVillage, an 8,000 Sq,ft warehouse art space, directed and curated by a couple that met while enrolled in Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Peter Symons and Leah Brown, push the boundaries of staid constructs consistently. Fine Art Resources (FAR) consults corporate clients on art acquisitions, and also maintains a more traditional white-cube gallery space, FAR Gallery. CUUE will be announced in early 2017

Soon the F.A.T in FATVillage will come from Food, Art & Technology. In answer to the demanding call from both the downtown population and restaurateurs interested in this 33301 location, with its 21-45 y/o creative demographic. The type attracted to an organic cultural emergence from an authentic history of industrial grit, and ‘making' occurring in FATVillage. FATVillage is relatively small only in geography, but this unsuspecting district has been noted, and is coming under further notice nationwide. It’s a differentiated experience when explored below its surface, and that is part of the FATVillage appeal. The Food & Cooking Channel Networks’ South Beach Food & Wine Festival, has selected FATVillage for its next South Florida concept, and so the story goes.

Category Urban Strategies
Industry Architecture and Real estate development
Location Fort Lauderdale, FL
Related to Future of Urban Living, Future of Work, Urban Development, Economy, Future of Design
Reviewer Wendy W Fok, Neil Ramsey
Real Estate Developers Doug McCraw, Lutz Hofbauer
Case Study FATVillage