History of Miami Beach Part 4: The Rebirth

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While the early years of Miami Beach were filled glitz and glamour, the city faced serious problems in the middle of the 20th century.  The population had changed from the wealthy and elite of the world, to world class criminals and druglords. The saving of South Beach, and its return to glory came from several strange and unexpected sources.  

The turnaround for South Beach really began in 1979, when Barbara Capitman began a movement to save South Beach by placing the area that is now the Art Deco District on the National Register of Historic Places.  This protection of the architecture led to a massive renovation project to restore these buildings to their original glory and began the transformation of South Beach.   

Then in the late 1980s, the fashion industry took notice of Miami Beach.  In 1989, Irene Marie purchased property on South Beach to start her Irene Marie Models modeling agency (ironically enough, the property that she chose was the very same apartment complex that was made infamous in the chainsaw scene in Scarface-not so glamorous!).  This modeling agency was the first of its kind in Florida.  Not to be outdone in this new market, most of the large New York modeling agencies soon followed suit.  Miami Beach was becoming a center for the modeling agency, as a new untapped and exotic location, with photographers flocking to its shores.  Sure enough, South Beach was becoming glamorous once again, and the rich and famous from all over the world were returning to Miami Beach.  

With the popularity of South Beach growing, property values began to increase exponentially, causing a change in the demographics and encouraging development catering to the wealthy.  Slowly, Miami Beach is being transformed into a culturally iconic city.  Most of the old low-rise buildings, once inhabited by retirees and drug lords, are being replaced with ultra-luxurious multi-million dollar high rises fit for kings, or at least those looking for a regal lifestyle.  Examples include Apogee, Continuum, Setai, and Portofino Tower.  These South Beach condos are some of the most expensive condos in the country, with every luxury imaginable.  

Today, Miami Beach has been reborn as one of the most popular tourist and resident locations in the country.  Those lucky enough to own Miami Beach real estate have the world at their fingertips with an endless amount of chic boutiques, eclectic restaurants, and sizzling nightclubs.  Miami Beach has grown from its original farmland roots, and has blossomed into a truly international city due to its rich history and the perseverance of its pioneers.

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