The popular community gathering space Wynwood Yard wants to open a new location in the calmer, slower swath of Miami Beach on its north shore.
“North Beach Yard” is the brainchild of Commissioner Ricky Arriola and entrepreneur Della Heiman, who founded the first entrepreneurial space at 56 NW 29th St. Wynwood Yard is a place where people gather for food, drink, music, gardening and special events. Food trucks line a space with a bar in the center, a garden is cultivated to supply the kitchens, and artists can perform on a small stage.
Heiman was surprised to see so much enthusiasm after she made an initial pitch during a meeting of community leaders in North Beach this week.
“I’m really excited to say there’s a lot of support,” Heiman said. “Across the board, everyone’s excited.”
The idea was born out of discussions of how to use a string of public lots along Collins Avenue across from North Shore Open Space Park. Community members participated in a yearlong process to develop a master plan for all of North Beach, which stretches from 63rd Street up to 87th Terrace and from the Atlantic Ocean to Biscayne Bay.
The plan, which was approved last year and has elements that are already in motion, called for a few different approaches for how the city should develop the “West Lots,” which are west of Collins across from the park.
While permanent development of the publicly owned land may be years away and will certainly merit a longer, wider community discussion, Arriola approached Heiman to talk about how to bring some life to the area for the time being. Heiman, an Ohio native who is most familiar with the urban core of Miami on the mainland, was quite taken with North Beach when she toured the area for the first time recently.
“It’s so beautiful. I love this community,” she said.
Heiman said North Beach Yard would aim to cater to a different sort of surrounding population than the Wynwood location. It would open in a residential area packed with a mix of upscale condos and many modest apartment buildings, which means North Beach Yard could offer more everyday amenities for neighborhood residents. Think daytime programming such as fitness classes and activities that incorporate the park and beach that are across Collins, and a farmers market.
She sees it as an opportunity to work with the neighborhood to foster food entrepreneurs, artists, and activities neighbors want.
“If anyone in North Beach wants to be a part of it, we really want to make this a huge part of the community,” Heiman said.
The details of the location need to be discussed by the City Commission. Heiman said she sees potential in the lot between 81st and 82nd streets. That space includes the former Log Cabin Nursery, which closed in 2011. She has ideas about repurposing the structure to house visual artists and serve as a performance space for musicians.
Arriola said he plans to bring the matter to the next City Commission meeting April 26.
“It is in the works,” he told the Miami Herald. “It is gaining traction, so I am optimistic.”
He and Heiman received enthusiastic support from the citizens committee overseeing the implementation of the master plan. The committee unanimously voted to support North Beach Yard this week.
“Everybody thought it was fabulous,” said Margueritte Ramos, the committee chairwoman. “It’s going to be amazing.”