Miami’s Arts and Entertainment District, a generally abandoned section of the city’s downtown, is ready to be recast as a desirable place to live and play. NR Investments (NRI), one of the developers behind the area’s transformation, teamed up with Hollywood superstar Adrian Grenier and his partner Peter Glatzer of SHFT.com to stimulate a cultural shift toward sustainable living through design.
The Hollywood duo’s work, in collaboration with Miami-based interior design firm Hillary Littlejohn Scurtis, is now complete inside a loft studio and throughout NRI’s Filling Station property, 1657 N. Miami Ave., which is an 81-unit, all-loft residential rental building with a decidedly raw and industrial vibe.
The Arts and Entertainment District runs from 13th to 21st streets between Northeast Second Avenue and North Miami Avenue and includes the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the YoungArts campus and public radio’s WLRN. The building’s winter programming kicks off in November with “305 Cafecito“ breaks, yoga on the lawn, live music on the roof, and other locally-inspired events that are open to the public.
Tell us about your connection to Miami, Adrian. How have you seen it grow in the past few years?
AG: I come down to Miami several times a year. It’s is a great place to promote sustainable design considering the extent in which Miami would be affected by climate change if strong action isn’t taken. There is a necessary relationship between new development and sustainability. It’s exciting to see that relationship explored in the revitalization of previously forgotten and abandoned neighborhoods, which are now growing great art communities with strong aesthetic and environmental values.
How did you get into sustainability consulting? What inspired you?
AG: Growing up, I was taught to consciously care for your space and pay attention to what’s around you. The most important person in my life, my mother, instilled in me the value of tending to your space and creating a beautiful, clean, uncluttered environment that allows you to work and think clearly. I believe the sustainable world is an aesthetic world; to empower people to make change in the environment and participate in caring for the planet requires a sense of smart design, beauty and quality of life.
The area surrounding the Filling Station property is rather blighted. Do you have any recommendations for what developers can do to work on building the community that exists alongside their investments?
AG: What drew us to this partnership with NRI is their commitment to developing a community in this neighborhood. They’re leading the way in creating an urban village in this area, and this month will roll out a series of events including a farmers market and music sessions featuring local performers from the community.
Describe the loft that you curated at the Filling Station.
PG: Everything is sourced very specifically with great design and functionality in mind first — you have to want to be around it, touch it — and the sustainable story is second, but it’s always baked in. For this project, we felt a mix of new designs adhering to a set of sustainable criteria and old vintage pieces that are getting a second life was the best combination.
How many projects like this have you done through SHFT? What sets The Filling Station in Miami apart?
PG: This is our second project with a residential building. This one is exciting because of the opportunity to build this community in the Arts and Entertainment District. People are looking for more conscious ways to live these days. We applaud that and feel that there’s a very strong market for conscious living that doesn’t sacrifice great design.