Watch CBS News

Hip And Homelessness An Unlikely Combo

Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Wynwood is a cacophony of color, art galleries, sidewalk cafes, tourist buses rolling through. The area north of Downtown Miami just a few years ago was a blighted, crime ridden poverty pit, but it is evolving as a must-see location for visitors in Miami.

"This is the first time that we're visiting Miami and we thought that we had to come and see. We don't have anything like this in Houston," a tourist from Texas remarked on Tuesday.

"We have friends who have come down here and told us 'you really have to go see it,'" said Stuart Small, visiting from Boca Raton with his wife, Marsha. "So here we are!"

Wynwood's modern landmarks are gaining increasing fame, like its Wynwood Walls, an increasingly well-known piece of outdoor art. With fame has come fortune.

Click here to watch Gary Nelson's report.

"Yeah, it's crazy," said Rev. Ron Brummitt of the Miami Rescue Mission, talking about the crazy rise in Wynwood property values. As a result, the Mission that has been serving the homeless, poor and abused for nearly a century is looking to sell about a block and a half of its property, including a shelter for abused women and children, two thrift stores, and the headquarters building.

"Because of all the hype and development in the Wynwood area, these properties are gold," Brummitt told CBS4's Gary Nelson. The Mission expects to fetch at least $22 million for land that a few years ago was dirt cheap. It is causing confusion for some, like Bernard saint Louis who makes spending money working for tips at the Mission thrift stores.

"I don't know, I don't know, I don't know what's going on with all of that," Saint Louis said, shaking his head.

Shay Jones, a regular thrift store shopper, dreads the thought of losing it.

"I think it'll be a shame, because I really like coming down here, finding great deals," she said. "They have things for prices you couldn't find in other places."

Brummitt says not to worry. The shelter for women and children, the thrift stores, the headquarters will be relocated hopefully no more than about 15 blocks away. Brummitt hopes to find a strip shopping center where he can create an even larger program for abused women and kids, a larger, more thriving thrift store operation, and maybe even a cafeteria and other businesses to support the Mission and its clients.

"I can have better facilities, better housing, we can have a better thrift store - and our thrift store is not just to make money, it's to train people too as part of our work training program," he said.

Brummitt says Windfalls in Wynwood are signs of good times and the goodness of God.

"This is a blessing," he said of the huge sums the Mission expects to get for its property. "It is proof of the providence of God."

Brummitt says the realtor representing the Mission has received multiple offers for the property, and expects the offers to keep rising.

The Miami Rescue Mission's 350 bed shelter for homeless men is not for sale, at least not yet.

"If someone makes us a crazy good offer, we would consider it," Brummitt said.

In real estate there is a mantra: Location, location, location. While the Miami Rescue Mission is sitting on very expensive property now, it is located in fairly close proximity to property far less expensive. A relatively short move could result in big profits and relatively inexpensive relocation and expansion.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.