Pharrell Williams And Chad Oppenheim Want To Redevelop Overtown Into "Ice Cream City"

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Pharrell Wiliams getting creative with Miami architect Chad Oppenheim.
A hip-hop icon with a knack for post-skater attire and a Magic City architect have unveiled a very imaginative master plan to transform Overtown into a vibrant urban destination for skateboarders, artists, and fashionistas. But turning that dream into a reality is going to require a monumental effort to convince private property owners, residents, and politicians with a vested interest in Overtown that their development -- called Ice Cream City -- will restore the neighborhood. 

Pharrell Williams, a Grammy award winning rapper and music producer, has teamed up with Chad Oppenheim to create the plan including indoor and outdoor skate parks, a big box retailer, ateliers and specialty workshops, a small business incubator, and new residential buildings. Click through for some conceptual images. 

Local architecture blog Curbed Miami, which first reported about the master plan two days ago, described Ice Cream City as follows:

It will build around and adapt existing structures (even the crummy ones) and be extremely pedestrian oriented. It's also totally "bottom up," as opposed to the top-down dictatorial mentality of typical master plans. Ice Cream City is all about incubation rather than dictation, baby, and a wild amalgamation of a million bold ideas for the revitalization of a part of town more known for its urban blight and long-lost history than its cool architecture or bright future.

The conceptual drawings are drenched in Oppenheim's whimsical style. He's designed some astonishing structures around the world like the Net Metropolis in the Phillippines' capital of Manila and the Kirchplatz Residence in Muttenz-Basel, Switzerland. 

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Chad Oppenheim

Combined with Pharell's creative flair, Oppenheim envisions buildings with curved rooftops and jagged corners, live-work spaces with community courtyards, and a neighborhood drenched in a color palette of pistachio, strawberry, and bubblegum ice cream. 

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Chad Oppenheim

But Oppenheim and Pharrell have not yet announced how they plan to pull of their sorbet-in-the-sky redevelopment plan. Curbed Miami noted that details such as what developers are involved, who will foot the bill, and whether city and county leaders are on board with the plan are forthcoming. 

We've left a message with Oppenheim's assistant seeking his comment on the plans; we'll update this post when we hear back. 

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20 comments
Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

if County was to build, at least, 7 housing projects, like the famous 3333 Broadway in NYC, they'd fix the problem on the spot!! But noooooo... It has to be "properly assesed", unlike the Marlins Stadium. 1-) You build those projects, 2-) relocate ghetto residents to adequate housing, instead of casting them to places where they're not welcome, like Naranja-Florida City-Homestead, 3-) Hand the Overtown-Winwood-Little Haiti-Pork & Beans radius to developers, 4-) once people see a Starbucks or a Books&Books on Miami Avenue, open past 6PM, investors will come and the business will follow suit. 5-) County and City can't raise taxes right away, just as they did when they, along with VARIG, drove the Brazilians out of Downtown, in the 90s. 6-) Instead issue a 2-3 year moratorium on business tax, to see how the area evolves. THERE'S NO BETTER WAY TO REVITALIZE THIS COUNTY (unfortunately, there's no "Special Interest Hustle" in this proposal!!).

Pablo Ramírez
Pablo Ramírez

Hipsters are the new douche-bags. They're are almost up there next to the Ed Hardy-fist pumping-chemically bronzed-droid ones. This is what happen in Chicago; they told the poor that they will have 1st dip on the new real state with a lower APR. How does a poor person fit to a new up coming neighborhood where predominantly are going to be white upper middle class? How about taxes in Dade County? How are they going to able to afford that bill on prime real state? They're kicking them out of the hoods they've lived for generations.

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

there's got to be a 'write-off underlying' there...

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

did Lanzar uttered "HIPSTERS & ARTISTS" in the same sentence with Wynwood?!?! 1-) how many coffeshops or bookstores, with free WiFi, are there south of the Shops on 36th street?! 2-) how far is the reach of the 'radiating coolness', emanating from that 5 blocks radius?!?! http://miamidesigndistrict.net/map/mdd-map.pdf Building a skate park, whether Overtown or Hialeah, will have the same effect as opening a 'Pan Con Lechon' stand in front of, or next to, the Turnberry-Aventura Synagogue: WILL NOT FLY!! Mind you, being a Miami native, I longed for a Countywide revival, but Manny Diaz dropped the ball by just focusing on revitalizing certain spots in the ghetto, like "Club Lane" by the Arena and the area, they're so forcefully trying to sell as MiMo (Midtown Modern). Those galleries are in that area, because of cheap rent compared to Gables or South Beach. Otherwise, they woulda been on Biscayne Blvd. which, unfortunately, is just as expensive by the Morningside area. Until they erradicate the mentality of 92% of the inhabitants, forget it.

Em Azin
Em Azin

thanks to the HIPSTER and ARTIST this area has become safer?! REALLY?! lol. jose... you have NO CLUE about what you speak of do you?! do you OWN a gallery there? are you an artist there? are yo a MODEL like me that gets PAID to take pics there? prob not. the only people making money and ANY type of profit from wynwood are WHITE RICH PEOPLE. go check. half the galleries are owned by JEWS and people that arent even FROM south florida. OT needs EDUCATION and so DO YOU. and actually... i AM person supporting breast cancer. check out the link to the event below :) https://www.facebook.com/events/372898956123657/?ref=ts&fref=ts

Jose 'Joel' Lanzar
Jose 'Joel' Lanzar

Really Em Azin, You may have a point, about the unsafe environment, but thanks to the hipster and artist, this areas had become safer than before and had been in use, no matter for what it is for, art walls, graffiti's, restaurants, retail stores, apartments ect..... Or do you have a great idea for OT,,,coming from someone that her profile picture is a naked photo of yourself grabbing your boobs. Don't tell me now that your an artist supporting breast cancer,,,good one. What this city needs is all of you to get the "making money" mentality out of your asses and see that big time people are "INVESTING" in our city and not into other cities that don't need it.

Jennifer Miguelez
Jennifer Miguelez

^ Not true, this is beneficial to all- including current residents. This project is not about pushing out the homeless, this is about making it into a working community. I currently work with developers who have great ideas and plans for OT, not to "run anyone out". What about the children? the next generation? Plans for community courtyards, parks & skateparks. This is about the community, not about the hipsters or skate freaks.. If you really care about OT and the residents, then do your homework to be involved in this process.

andremontoto
andremontoto

@KhaleahEvelyn @miaminewtimes Great news!

Clemente Morales
Clemente Morales

I think if you're rich, the idea is great. Buy up a lot of cheap real estate in Overtown, and turn it into the next "up and coming" place in Miami. The only problem with that is that it will probably have a negative for the lifelong Overtown residents with limited income.

Em Azin
Em Azin

WHAT A FUCKING JOKE!!! and jose... your an IDIOT. your going to sit there and tell EVERYONE that wynwood is a SAFE PLACE?! you obviously NEVER visit wynwood outside of an art bullshit event. go to wynwood anytime after 11 and let me know if you truly consider it a SAFE PLACE. overtown need an EDUCATIONAL makeover. not a stupid fuckin skate park! but w.e... that's why overtown will never be nothing more than kill city...

Palangana
Palangana topcommenter

Ice Cream is also a brand of heroin sold in Overtown.  To me, it's already Ice Cream City.

Jose 'Joel' Lanzar
Jose 'Joel' Lanzar

This is a BRILLIANT IDEA...If I dont mistaken, 10 years ago, when I arrived in Miami, the famous Design district and Wynwood Area where also "not so safe to be in" neighborhoods. So first Todd, learn your history before you comment on something that will bring jobs, things to do for the kids, instead of killing and selling drugs on the corner, at least they will be riding skateboards and doing art, something that this city needs more.

Pablo Ramírez
Pablo Ramírez

how about you turn Overtown into a liveable environment for the poor? "and-then-you-can-get-lap-dances-there-for-free!" whoa! ice cream city, what a nut.

mrpink13
mrpink13

@MofoAgogo That would be pretty cool. A new place for the hoodie and skinny jean set to congregate and get mugged.

Todd Twilo Petty
Todd Twilo Petty

LOL good luck with that.. OT one of the highest murder rates in the us a skate park.. now that I would like to see. Kids riding a rail or doing a trick and a stray bullet kills them.

WAT_ABOUT_A_TOWNER
WAT_ABOUT_A_TOWNER

Man, this is bullshit in a way, there's no mention of working with the people who already live in this HISTORIC area, or what will happen to their HISTORIC homes

theDRoweshow
theDRoweshow

@andremontoto @KhaleahEvelyn @MiamiNewTimes Not really, bad news for the residents of Historic Overtown

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