Miami New Times, along with sister paper New Times Broward-Palm Beach, will be the latest creative types to call the arts neighborhood Wynwood home when they relocate in February to the Wynwood Building, that angularly gridded, black and white hypnostructure off Northwest 27th Street and Northwest Third Avenue that was also the last Goldman Properties project to be completed before real estate visionary Tony Goldman died in September.
Sixty to 70 employees (“ballpark estimate” by Editor Chuck Strouse) will make the move. They’ll occupy the largest available space of the 45,000 square-foot building, which is almost fully leased with only one (the cafe) of the 24 units still available. New Times‘ neighbors will include the University of Miami Visual Arts exhibition space, imoderni furniture and design showroom, the Del Toro shoe boutique, and, for a short time, the coworking space Lab Miami, which will be expanding later to another larger Goldman property.
“New Times is a great addition to the building,” said Joe Furst, Goldman Properties Managing Director and boardmember of the Wynwood Arts District Association. “Having the press within the Wynwood Arts District … adds value to the neighborhood and tenancies who call it home. To have the larger and dominant cultural force positioned in the middle of the district … adds some human critical mass to the neighborhood and signifies a movement that shows the Wynwood District as a feasible and viable destination for larger creative office tenants.”
This will be Miami New Times‘ fifth home: First it was headquartered in South Beach, then Tobacco Road. For years, it sat about a mile south from its current, somewhat discrete locale on Biscayne Boulevard in the much more memorable Arquitectonica-designed office building that bore the paper’s bright red logo at the top. Miami New Times has been in its current four-story for a little over two years; the Broward paper’s editorial staff joined the Miami staff there in August, when the Broward paper’s editor, Eric Barton, was dismissed and Strouse took over editing duties at both.
A block west of the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare, the Wynwood Building’s location seems a much better fit for the paper’s alternative coverage and voice. Still, New Times is known for broken promises. In an email back in April, Barton told freelancers that Village Voice Media had signed a “seven-year lease” for a new Broward office. Instead, he was let go in June and the paper ended up in Miami. Reportedly, the Wynwood lease is for 10 years.
Moreover, moves don’t always augur good fortune. With changing media landscapes and ebbing revenue streams, many papers are finding it hard to stay profitable. The Miami Herald, for example, sold its gorgeous downtown bayfront location, and will head to Doral in May.
But unlike Doral, Wynwood signals an improvement for New Times by putting it in the middle of all the cultural hustle and bustle that accounts for much of the paper’s edgy, hyperlocal arts coverage. The space may be a bit smaller, according to Strouse, but the trade-off is worth it.
“It’s the neighborhood I’ve been pushing for [New Times] to be in since before we moved here,” Strouse said. ”It puts us in a place where coverage of the arts is in your face when you walk out the door. It’s where New Times belongs.”
Of course the Herald could never move its humungous operations to Wynwood. New Times has only 70 employees (again, “ballpark”) to the Herald‘s 732 making the move. Still, one wonders how a metropolitan newspaper is supposed to, well, function outside the metropolitan area.
Strouse wondered that, too.
Which brought us to New Times Broward-Palm Beach. Questions about proximity that arose during the first move from Broward to Miami still loom. How does a paper cover Broward and Palm Beach from Wynwood?
“It’s not easy,” Strouse admitted. “It’s been a challenge. It’s the same challenge the Herald faced in its coverage of Broward, and the Sun Sentinel faced in Miami.
“It’s an issue that’s been plaguing me,” he continued. “When this paper was started in 1997, there was more cultural distance between Broward and Palm Beach and Miami than there is today. The Latin community was much smaller. The arts community was more segregated and segmented. In some degree what we’ve seen is that, culturally, more people in Broward come to Miami and vice versa than they did 15 years ago.”
It seems perplexing, then, that the papers don’t merge. Why not retain the staff and create a bigger paper?
“We thought of that, and honestly we’re sharing more stories now. It’s come together in some degree. But in terms of arts, restaurants, politics, they’re still pretty different places.” Strouse said. “But who knows what the next 10 years is going to bring.”