Royce recently sat down with Craig Robbins for his take on Miami, Art, Architecture, and his favorite South Beach developments.

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Royce Pinkwater: How did you get into doing this in Miami?

Craig Robbins: I was studying for the bar exam in 1987 and I bought a couple of properties in South Beach. There wasn’t much happening there then. I have now become the largest property owner in the revitalization of Miami Beach? Then the Design District happened. The Design District offered strong retail.

RP: Interesting that the big global fashion firms left the Bal Harbour Mall to move to the Design District?

CR: The Design District offered street retail. Not a mall. Bal Harbour didn’t allow them to have more than one location in Miami. What surprised everyone was that they all left Bal Harbour. It’s been quite amazing.

RP: The Miami market has really transformed? What do you see as the relation between art and property development?

CR: With Art Basel and all that happened around Miami, Miami defined itself as a global city of cultural substance. They have been ___________ snowball. The branding of the city … something special. Miami has the greatest new architecture and architects, more than anywhere else. It is the city of the future.

RP: Do developers think about what to build now to accommodate art collectors and what do art collectors look for?

CR: This is not my experience. People who are art collectors want space to exhibit their art and show their collections. You buy it and then you figure it out after. In my business we are very careful to include art, design, architectural graphic design in the ________ I work. Show themselves differently in the neighborhood. South Beach, Aqua, Design District, very active now. Art and architecture … to make things interesting. To have pieces in interesting buildings. Design Miami is the most important show for furniture collections in the world.

RP: What are your favorite property developments?

CR: The Zaha Hadid project is one of my favorites, and is one of the most interesting as well as Faena and [Ian Schrager’s] The Edition.