As music fans began to infiltrate downtown Miami on Friday morning for Ultra Music Festival, professional buildings began to empty out while the street-level shops geared up for a rush of business.
People who work inside the New World Tower, 100 Biscayne Blvd., couldn’t make it to work at all after a detour for the festival closed off the building’s parking garage.
About 600 people work in the building, and most hadn’t arrived by the time the street closed at 10 a.m. That’s a huge problem for the Israeli, Colombian, German and Belgian consulates housed inside the tower, said Jorge Acuna, security director of the consulates.
“This has completely shut down all the business inside,” said Acuna, who added that he didn’t know how he’d get his own car out of the garage Friday evening.
As a result of the closures, he said, people seeking passports or visas from the consulates Friday might not be able to get the documents they need.
That’s bad news for anyone who gets to the airport Friday to discover his or her passport was stolen, Acuna said. Usually the airport gives a grace period of a few hours to get to a consulate, secure emergency travel documents and return for a later flight, but with the traffic and office closures, he said, people will miss flights on Friday.
The consulates expect the same problems for next weekend, and are working out a plan.
Next door, at Wells Fargo, people learned what they were in for Thursday evening when the sound checks started.
“You can hear the bass through the entire building,” said Gabriel Campos, who also lives in the area.
Campos said he and many of his coworkers at Wells Fargo used vacation time to avoid a futile work environment.
But at the Offerdahl’s on Southeast Third Street, employees were getting more work hours than usual, and extra pay.
“We actually get more overtime because of this,” said Shondrica Manning.
Down the street at Grease Monkeys, a combination skateboard-and-tattoo shop, the feeling was the same.
The 200 block of Northeast Second Avenue is usually pretty dead after 6 p.m. and on the weekends, said Andrea Lopez, who works at the shop.
But during the two weekends of Ultra, thousands of out-of-towners will be milling around looking for ways to commemorate the experience, possibly with a tattoo or a t-shirt, Lopez said.
“We’re going to be more excited to open,” she said.