History of Miami Beach Part 3: The Decline

Services for Real Estate Pros

By the end of the 1950s, the population of South Florida, particularly Miami Beach, had doubled.  When the Army Air Corps and the United States Navy established training centers on Miami Beach, more than 500,000 soldiers were brought to the island throughout World War II.  When the war was over in 1945, many former soldiers moved to South Florida and Miami Beach.   Adding to this population boom was the revolution on the island nation of Cuba.  In 1959, Fidel Castro took over control of Cuba, which subsequently led to a mass migration of Cubans emigrating to South Florida, eventually totaling more than 500,000 people.  The Mariel boatlift of 1980 alone brought more than 140,000 refugees.  The migrations of those escaping Cuba still continue today.

The late 1970s and 1980s saw great changes for real estate on Miami Beach.  During this time Miami Beach was primarily used as a retirement community, seen throughout the country as a home for the old and decrepit instead of the rich and famous.  Once glorious, historic Art Deco buildings were becoming dilapidated and were being let fall to ruin as the city did not have the money to renovate.  After all, most of the tax base was retired and on a fixed income.  Eventually, Miami Beach fell prey to an influx of criminals and drug lords, a la Scarface-types, which further tarnished South Beach’s once sparkling reputation.  

Miami Beach had come a long way from its origins.  South Beach real estate was once the home to some of the most prestigious entrepreneurs and families in the country.  Now it was a run-down city, home to dangerous criminals.  This was not the same city of visionaries John Collins and Carl Fisher.  The city needed a miracle to turn itself around and return it to its original elite status.

Comments (0)