Miami Luxury Condo is First to Offer NFT with Unit
You don’t have to wait for the next Miami crypto convention to get into NFTs. You could just buy a condo.
The Noble Brickell, a luxury condominium slated to open in 2024, is the first in the world to commission and announce an NFT art collection that offers each condo buyer an original NFT of an artist’s work based at Miami. The building, created by Newgard Development Group, will display NFT digital artwork in common areas and in each owner’s unit.
NFT Collection Launches with Artwork by Miami-Based Multidisciplinary Artist Carlos Betancourt, whose work has been featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, and the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico. The art program, a collaboration with New York-based art consultancy Indiewalls, plans to work with more Miami-based artists in the future.
Harvey Hernandez, CEO of Newgard Development Group, said Lofty aims to celebrate the best artists the city has to offer.
“Fortunately for us, we’re in the city where that kind of talent is abundant,” Hernandez said. “It’s really, really cool. Miami has transformed into a hub for talent.
Although construction has yet to begin, that hasn’t stopped eager customers from snapping up most of the units when they go on sale in January. The building plans are tall, shiny and high-tech: the 44-story tower will feature fully furnished residences and panoramic views of the Miami skyline. (A step so modest the studio starts at $585,000while a two-bedroom unit costs over a million dollars.)
The building is Brickell’s first condo specifically designed for flexible ownership, Hernandez said. This means buyers can easily share or monetize their unit as a short-term rental when not in use, like Airbnb.
Newgard has found success in Native, a ready-to-let condominium currently under construction in downtown Miami. Units there have already sold, Hernandez said, signaling strong demand for flexible condominiums. When developers began planning Lofty, Hernandez said they wanted to take a different approach to building art.
“We wanted to find a way to bridge the gap between analog and digital, and that’s how the aha moment came to us,” Hernandez said.
Lofty’s NFT art program is part of a larger crypto trend taking over Miami’s financial and art hubs. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez dubbed April Miami Tech Month, which included Miami NFT Week, the Miami Beach Bitcoin Conference, and the unveiling of the robotic (and slightly controversial) Miami Bull statue. Even the Miami Herald has its own collection of NFT art featuring local artists.
NFTs provide Betancourt with a platform to showcase his art in a way he’s always dreamed of: animated.
Lofty’s first NFT collection is part of the famous Betancourt collection Re-Collections, a series of works focused on memory and culture. At first glance, the original physical works look like sudden bursts of color suspended in time or a mandala of patterns repeating in a circle. On closer inspection, the flurry is actually a bunch of objects, like flowers and toys.
When Lofty approached Betancourt about the idea of doing an NFT collection, he said he was immediately on board. He said the experience with Lofty reminded him of the Renaissance period, when architects worked with artists on projects from the start, not an afterthought.
Betancourt worked with animator Milly Cohen to transform her static works into explosions of spiraling objects. Before NFTs were popularized, displaying animated artwork in museums was tedious, Betancourt said. Now, the platform makes it possible to bring their work to life and display it anywhere, from a luxury condo to a cell phone.
“For me, it kind of completes this journey of some of my work that was screaming to be translated into animation to complete the story,” Betancourt said.
Betancourt said he was especially excited to be part of the first NFT condo building commission. For him, it is part of his heritage.
“Artists thrive on new platforms and new adventures,” he said. “And being the first is exactly that, it’s new territory.”
This story was produced with the financial support of the Pérez Family Foundation, in partnership with Journalism Funding Partners, as part of an independent journalism grant program. The Miami Herald retains full editorial control of this work..
This story was originally published April 21, 2022 1:36 p.m.