Freedom Tower, Miami
The Freedom Tower is a building in Miami, Florida, that serves as a memorial to Cuban immigration to the United States. It is located at 600 Biscayne Boulevard. On September 10, 1979, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. This tower is not to be confused with the Freedom Tower in New York expected to be completed in 2010 and open in 2011.
Originally completed in 1925 as the headquarters and printing facility of the Miami News & Metropolis newspaper, it is an example of Mediterranean Revival style with design elements borrowed from the Giralda Tower in Seville, Spain. Its cupola on a 255 foot (78 m) tower contained a decorative beacon.
In the 1950s the Miami News vacated the building to share facilities with the rival Miami Herald. As refugees from the Castro regime arrived in Miami, the federal government used the facility to process, document and provide medical and dental services for the immigrants. After the first major wave of immigration had passed, the government sold the building in the 1970s. Passing through several owners, the dilapidated building was eventually abandoned until 1997 when a prominent and controversial member of the Cuban-American community, Jorge Mas Canosa, purchased the building for $4.1 million US.
The building was restored and converted into a monument for the refugees who fled to the United States from communist Cuba. It houses a museum, library, meeting hall, and the offices of the Cuban American National Foundation.
Recently the Freedom Tower was purchased by developer Terra who wished to demolish 75 feet (23 m) of the original tower and develop 683 condominium units. A group of preservationist organized and successfully stopped the demolition, Miami Dade County Preservationists included Armando Gutierrez Jr, Rafael Penalver, Richard Heisenbottle and Dade Heritage Trust. The developers were unable to gain approval. The developers then donated the Freedom tower to Miami-Dade College, which plans to use it as a monument to the Cuban community. The city later granted approval to the developers to build on the back of the property without demolishing the original tower.
Currently, the Freedom Tower is used as an Art gallery, having housed the New World School of the Arts BFA show, and exhibitions through the Miami Art Museum displaying work from famous artist Francisco Goya as well as Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller "The Killing Machine & Other Stories" (Wikipedia)