Artist agrees to $2M settlement with state

Artist George Sánchez-Calderón home under the interstate
Artist George Sánchez-Calderón home under the interstate

Artist George Sánchez-Calderón has lost the battle to save his small warehouse from the Florida Department of Transportation’s “I-395 Reconstruction” project. 

Sánchez-Calderón had attempted to compromise with FDOT, which plans to demolish the building, asking them to incorporate his warehouse into the new highway design, according to the Miami New Times.

But FDOT’s right-of-way agents weren’t having it. Early this year, the agency offered to buy Sánchez-Calderón another warehouse valued at $650,000 at NW Seventh Avenue and 22nd Street near Jackson Memorial Hospital.

“They said it had white walls so it looked like an art gallery. They actually thought I was going to say, ‘Wow, thanks!'” Sánchez-Calderón explains.

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Back in February 2001, Sánchez-Calderón paid $105,000 for the one-story, 2,600-square-foot warehouse on the south side of I-395, naming it the Bakery. He then spent years extensively remodeling the building into a labyrinthian artist studio and living space, with a kitchen, three bathrooms, a bedroom, and a large den with an expansive wall bookcase.

Never expecting to win, Sánchez-Calderón contended that his property and air rights were worth $3.3 million and requested to be a paid consultant fees on the project. Of course, his requests were denied.

However, last week, Sánchez-Calderón signed a settlement with FDOT. “I feel sick,” he said of the deal, which will earn him a $2 million check. He told the Miami New Times that accepting the deal also made him feel like “a whore. But a modestly expensive one.” [MNT] Christopher Cameron