Small business owners, artists meet to discuss future of Wynwood

Some say big shot developer is skirting city’s rules

MIAMI – A group of small business owners, developers and artists expressed their visions for the budding Wynwood neighborhood in Miami on Tuesday after a Save Wynwood campaign was started by organizers who say the vibrant area is in jeopardy.

The meeting was held at the Light Box at Goldman Warehouse.

“Build some housing for artists and for creative people. Do something creative. Don’t just exploit us,” artist Frank Hyder said.

Others spoke about their frustration of what they say has been the inequitable enforcement of permitting and code enforcement rules.

“If we’re going to comply with the rules that have been laid out, let’s have strict enforcement for those rules. If it’s a 3 a.m. hard close, great. If it’s a 5 a.m. hard close, great. That’s what the police have been trying to do and some under harsh criticism,” developer Ron Bloomberg said.

But there is one particular lighting rod issue -- the apparent catalyst for the gathering -- billionaire and real estate developer Moishe Mana, who some at the meeting claim had been skirting the rules by operating in partnership with the event production agency, Swarm, under a temporary operating license for years.

“This is total nonsense,” said Mana, one of the chief organizers of Save Wynwood. “This is not about…this business or not. We need to fight for the neighborhood.”

Save Wynwood has been dubbed a misinformation campaign by the Wynwood Business Improvement District and heralded as a call to rethink noise ordinances by Mana.

“We want to make it an entertainment hub that we can have music after 11 o’clock and in open spaces,” Mana said.

“I’m friendly with Moishe and we’ve done business together and I respect Moishe, but I think he is aligned with a group, Swarm, that has behaved badly for a long time without any respect for the neighbors in this neighborhood,” David Lombardi, of Lombardi Properties, said.

Alan Drummond, owner of Coyo Taco and Miami’s first food hall, 1-800-Lucky, said the spirit of the meeting was to bring together the neighborhood’s residents, tenants and developers.

“In the last couple of weeks we’ve just created the Wynwood Restaurant and Bar Association, so we can have one voice, because we do believe that if everybody abides by a new code, we believe that this community can thrive together and the residents and bars and entertainment can coexist together and continue to make Wynwood great,” Drummond said.

“Just to make it clear to everyone, the issues here are not Mana's interests alone,” Save Wynwood said in a statement. “The issues we are fighting are what is good for Miami and South Florida, what is the vision for Wynwood and the purpose we want Wynwood to serve. That's why we have created the ‘Save Wynwood’ group supported by over 30,000 Miami residents.”

Save Wynwood launched a petition on social media that Wynwood Business Improvement District (BID) members described as a misinformation sham campaign that is at once misleading and inaccurate.

Save Wynwood also just launched a website, which can be found here.

The petition does not get into specifics, does not provide data to back its claims, nor name the “certain officials” it references. It also did not include the names of its chief organizers, Mana and SWARM, who have been in the hot seat ever since the City of Miami shuttered the Mana business Wynwood Marketplace over permit issues last month following complaints fielded by Wynwood BID that it was operating without the required licensing.

The petition, while citing the gentrification aims of “billionaire developers” in what Wynwood BID members describe as fear-mongering language also failed to mention that Mana, a billionaire developer with big development plans for the neighborhood, was one off the people behind the campaign.

Local 10 News has reached out to the City of Miami for comment and is awaiting a response.

Below is an infosheet from the Wynwood Business Improvement District:

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