Art-driven 21c Museum Hotel headed to Miami’s Design District

21c Museum Hotel in Louisville and Ayal Horovits
21c Museum Hotel in Louisville and Ayal Horovits

Helm Equities is bringing the contemporary art-driven 21c Museum Hotel to Miami’s Design District, as part of its planned mixed-use development, The Real Deal has learned.

The museum hotel, at 4201 Northeast Second Avenue, is aimed to be the focal point of Helm Miami, a 325,000-square-foot development with 70,000 square feet of retail, 85,000 square feet of office space, as well as restaurants, a sculpture garden and parking.

“This the perfect fit to bring to the Design District a hotel that will mix in and fuse together art, entertainment and culture all under one roof….” Ayal Horovits, principal of Helm Equities, told TRD. “This really gives us the identity we were looking for.”

New York-based Helm Equities is partnering with Louisville, Kentucky-based 21c Museum Hotels on the 135-room hotel, which will mark 21c’s first project in Florida. The hotel will feature a rooftop pool terrace, bar and lounge, art-filled meeting and event spaces and a chef-driven food and beverage concept.

Craig Greenberg, president of 21c, said the company’s founders, husband-and-wife art collectors Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown, developed the concept to help revitalize urban areas through contemporary art.

So all the public spaces are contemporary art museum galleries that are free and open to the public, and we feature rotating, curated shows of contemporary art from artists around the world today,” Greenberg told TRD

Drawing on the 21c’s own collection as well as works borrowed from other museums, galleries and collectors, the 21c Museum Hotel in Miami is expected to feature painting, sculpture, photography, film, performance, video and digital art. 21c will also offer cultural programs, such as artist lectures, music performances, film screenings and photography classes.

“The Design District is such a special place with a unique focus,” Greenberg said. “It’s been transformative for Miami and we’re excited to be part of the continued development of the entire Design District.”

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Named for the 21st century, 21c currently operates six hotels. Its first, in Louisville, opened in 2006. Others are in Cincinnati, Ohio; Durham, North Carolina; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Lexington, Kentucky; and Bentonville, Arkansas. Additional hotels currently are under construction in Nashville, Tennessee and in Kansas City, Missouri. Paul Faver of JB Real Estate Investment Group LLC advised Helm Equities on the partnership deal.

Helm Equities a partnership between Horovits, his father-in-law and JEMB Realty founder Morris Bailey, and David Escava — paid $12.5 million in 2014 for a 2-acre former church site that will house Helm Miami. The property runs from the corner of 42nd Street to the corner of 43rd Street, from Second to Fourth avenues. Helm has received zoning approval to include the parcel in the area’s Special Development Plan, and is developing the project with the Gindi family of the Century 21 Department Store chain.

The development marks Helm Equities’s first project in MiamiHorovits said the museum hotel will be an integral part of the mixed-use project, geared to coordinate well with the retail, restaurant and office components. A team led by Newmark Grubb Knight Frank Retail’s Executive Managing Director Thomas Citron and Executive Vice President Mitchell Friedel is handling retail leasing.

New York-based architecture and interior design firm Deborah Berke Partners will lead the design team for the hotel. Construction is expected to begin next year, Horovits and Greenberg said.

The Design District is transforming into a luxury shopping, dining and cultural destination, spearheaded by Craig Robins, president and CEO of Dacra. Dozens of stores are currently open, and a total of about 120 are expected to open on Dacra property by the end of 2017, with another 40 on other property owners’ land, Robins said. About 10 new restaurants are also planned for the neighborhood. In addition, the Institute of Contemporary Art, topped off in September and is expected to open in late 2017.

Among stores that have recently opened are Loro Piana, Tory Burch, MM6, and Alice and Olivia. By the end of the year, Saint Laurent, Cos, and Tod’s will also open, as well as Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s Estefan Kitchen and a new concept by the Smile, a New York-based restaurant concept. They will be followed up by continual openings for food and beverage, fashion, and lifestyle brands through 2017, Robins told TRD on Thursday.

“The nice thing about the Design District is that every month between now and 2017 there’s going to be something new that is opening, something new that is happening,” Robins previously said “and the neighborhood will get better and better until the total offering is open in mid-2017.