The Real Deal Miami

Freedom Tower retains iconic status

December 18, 2008 10:18AM

Call it the Ellis Island of South Florida. The Freedom Tower, a
downtown icon in rich yellow, modeled after a Spanish landmark from the
city of Seville, served as the nerve center for the influx of over
450,000 refugees from Fidel Castro’s Cuban revolution. In 1997, the
family of Cuban American National Foundation founder Jorge Mas Canosa
bought the building and spent $20 million to restore it with the idea
of later turning it into a museum dedicated to the Cuban exile
experience. In 2005, the family sold it to Terra Group developer Pedro
Martín, who sparked a controversy with plans to build a 62-story
condominium that would require demolition of the rear part of the
tower. He later donated it to Miami Dade College, which is using it as
a gallery space. It still draws visitors, some of whom found their
footing in the United States inside its doors.