Two Wynwood Landmarks Make Their Last Stand

Anyone in Miami with the slightest interest in the arts has at one point visited Wynwood. The neighborhood known for its music, design and food, has been a source for inspiration and enjoyment for people of all ages. Two staples of the area, the Wynwood Yard and O Cinema have been supplying entertainment for years now. Unfortunately their time has run out—both will be closing their doors this spring.

When Wynwood Yard founder, Della Heiman, came to Miami looking to open her own restaurant, she faced a variety of difficulties, including some financial barriers. She then investigated other ways to enter the market. That led her to the Wynwood Yard, which opened in the fall of 2015. Initially starting out on a nine-month lease, it opened to create a connection between entrepreneurs, food lovers and Miami culture.

As for O Cinema Wynwood, it was co-founded by Kareem Tabsch and Vivian Marthell and began as a renovated warehouse in 2011. Since its inception, the theater has been showcasing independent and foreign films and has held a multitude of festivals and events like the Popcorn Frights Film Festival and Third Horizon Film Festival. With another location on Miami Beach, you can still get your fill of cinema, but its absence in Wynwood will be felt.

Mimi Chacin, a PR liaison and social media strategist said that the Yard was a place where folks of all walks of life could meet diverse groups of people and stumble into unexpected things you weren’t sure you would like, such as a new food or band. Throughout its three-year tenure, it has hosted legions of food trucks like the World Famous House of Mac, Lola Burger Food Truck and Pasilla Tacos. Aside from the mobile eateries, the Yard also has The Garden Box, a shop for handmade, nature-inspired gifts.

“Big [surprises] happen every so often and smaller ones every day,” Chacin said.

Surely one of the highest points was the surprise visit from Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin. After watching a performance by Izzy Bizu, Martin stunned fans by joining her on stage. With the highs, there also come the lows. After the news broke of the closure, patrons and the community assumed that the Yard was already closed and would no longer be operational. According to Chacin, this caused an almost 40 percent decline in sales.

Looking toward greener pastures, the legacy of Wynwood Yard will live on with new locations in Doral and North Beach. Aptly named The Doral Yard and North Beach Yard, the former will be located on the Northeast corner of Main Street and Paseo Boulevard in Downtown Doral while the latter on 81st Street and Collins Avenue.

The Doral Yard is poised to have an indoor micro food hall, an outdoor space with green areas for community events, concerts and to hangout, as well as a place where people can work throughout the day.

The Wynwood Yard and O Cinema Wynwood will be replaced by Wynwood Green, an 11-story apartment building.   

“Change is inevitable, [though the] best we can do with change is work to make a difference within that change—help shape that change,” Chacin said.

The arts scene in Miami is one of its standout points regarding tourism. Hopefully, the legacy of these two locations will be felt long after their departure.