When Wynwood Yard announced that it was closing earlier this year, fans of the outdoor events space and food incubator took solace in knowing that the Doral Yard would be coming but even before that, they were looking forward to the opening of a yard in North Beach.
Well, the yard won’t be leaving the mainland after all.
Della Heiman, founder and CEO of Wynwood Yard, announced late last Friday that the North Beach Yard wouldn’t be happening years after it was first announced as an expansion of the Yard.
In a statement she said, “After months of analysis and many discussions with our core team and advisors, Yard Hospitality has made the difficult decision to pivot away from The North Beach Yard project.”
Issues started to arise for the concept early last year when it appeared that Miami Beach’s complex zoning regulations could cause issues for the Yard, and its mix of food trucks, storage containers, and other non-traditonal uses.
Then this past June Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales sent a letter to commissioners essentially giving a status update on the project. In the letter he noted that as of last November — a year after the city’s lease with the Yard became official — they hadn’t submitted written proof of several things including: “(1) equipment leases/financing for container structures; (2) secured financing for tenant’ s work; ( 3) the availability of liquid assets, (4) a general contractor contract; and (5) a performance bond and payment bond covering the full amount of tenant’ s work (in the amount of $ 1,750,000).”
Here’s Della’s full statement:
Despite hundreds of hours spent pitching to over 45 entities including banks, non-profit foundations, individual investors, and corporate sponsors, we were unable to engage the financial partnerships needed to bring the project to life.
As we moved forward with the project, several residents repeatedly expressed serious concerns regarding sound. As we learned more about the history of other North Beach venues, we, along with potential investors, developed profound concerns.
Though we expressed our commitment to working hand-in-hand with the residents to build appropriate programming for the neighborhood, we learned that even if only a few residents complained, our business model would be crippled.
Given the structure of our lease with the City, we had no true guarantees that the project would be protected in the case of noise complaints.
A Hard Decision
We want to be in Miami and in business for the long game. Collectively, as a leadership team, we made the difficult and sobering realization that we had allocated large quantities of financial resources, time, and creative energy to a business endeavor that did not have clear indicators for success. We recognized that with serious unsolvable roadblocks, this would not be a sustainable project.
I know there will be some who are quick to say that perhaps other projects came along and replaced North Beach Yard in importance or resources. I want to be clear in saying that even if another project had not come along, North Beach Yard would still not be a wise or sustainable decision for our company.
We want to extend our thanks to individuals and organizations that devoted immense time and energy to the North Beach Yard project:
- The City of Miami Beach Commissioners, most notably North Beach Yard’s primary champion, Ricky Arriola and his team, and John Aleman, who was a tremendous advocate of the project
- Mayor Gelber, Planning and Zoning, the City Attorney’s office, and the Design Review Board
- The visionary Andres Duany and the brilliant DPZ team, Eduardo Pardo Fernandez of CDS Architecture, and Little River Box company–who collaborated to design a truly groundbreaking ecosystem for community-building through entrepreneurship, arts, and culture.
- Many Miami Beach residents who expressed wonderful support and excitement about North Beach Yard.
We so enjoyed getting to know the people of North Beach and wish the community the best. There are so many beautiful existing assets to the neighborhood and it has astronomical potential. We’re so sorry that we won’t get to be a part of it.
Our team remains dedicated to creating community in Miami with you in the coming months and years. Thank you for your support and understanding.