MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The man responsible for turning South Beach into one of the country’s luxurious hotel districts, died Tuesday at the age of 68.
Tony Goldman is also credited with turning Miami’s dull Wynwood neighborhood into what is now a thriving arts destination.
Goldman died of heart failure at a New York hospital, after a short period of lung difficulty, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald. Goldman’s family got to see his last moments before he died.
Goldman, originally from New York, started out by buying Brownstone apartment buildings on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. In the 1980’s he bought 18 properties in New York’s South of Houston neighborhood, which is now one of the country’s finest loft-living spots.
With the success of the “SoHo” enterprise, Goldman saw potential in the Miami Beach area. He brought one property a month and ended up with 18 buildings along the low-rent section of Ocean Drive.
“I literally could walk out of my office on Sixth and Ocean and find a parking space anywhere I wanted.” Craig Robins, a protégé of Goldman who went on to revive the Design District on his own, told the Miami Herald in 2009.
The pioneer and his two children, Joey and Jessica Goldman, set out on Miami’s Wynwood district. The family’s companies bought up warehouses and other properties, just as that area of Miami was getting attention from loft developers and art galleries.
“For me, it was its grid system,” Goldman told the Herald in 2009. “I love the fact that the buildings are up to the street line. The setback thing is a suburban thing, it doesn’t do it for me.”
The Wynwood area is now home to some of the city’s most famous restaurants, including a pizzeria called Joey’s opened by Joey Goldman himself. The area is also a hot art district, holding some of the most prestigious public art collections in the city.
The family’s spokeswoman Susan Brustman released a statement from the family on their tragic loss
“In regards to Goldman that read: “To the community he touched, he was a transforming, once in a lifetime figure. To us, he was a devoted husband, wonderful father and doting grandfather.”
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this story.