The Faena District art and real estate complex opened this week to coincide with ArtBasel in Miami Beach. Bloomberg’s James Tarmy looks at the rising ocean’s effect on Miami’s breakneck development pace egged on by a global appeal to buyers.
Alan Faena is unfazed by the problem:
“The water will start coming up from the floor,” he said. “There’s not much we can do. That’s the reality.” He hastened to add that the city’s new hydraulic pumps, installed as a result of initiatives by Miami Beach’s mayor Philip Levine, were “very effective,” and he advised a wait-and-see approach. “We have to see how long [the pumps] will last,” he said. “And I can tell you that we have a lot of help from the mayor.”
Michael Laas, head of the environmental consultancy Sustainable Futures Group, puts the problem in some perspective:
It’s crucial to remember though, Laas said, that sea rise is gradual—current (conservative) estimates predict a three-foot rise over the next 100 years—“so a private equity firm buys a property and invests in it,” he said. “And their time frame is what, five years? How do you reconcile those two things: It’s a 100-year problem and a five-year investment cycle.” The answer is simply that the private equity firm does not account for the long term, but that the city of Miami Beach will have to—soon. The city is already elevating its roads, and the Rockefeller Foundation recently funded Miami’s “resilience officer,” the first of many in what the foundation expects to be a global array to help organize various cities’ responses.