It started in 2010 when debating digital billboards. Locals thought the advertisements would corrupt the natural landscape. Opponents further argued digital billboards would give the city a Las Vegas type of image and a majority of Miamians didn't want that.
Miami now has digital billboards. No biggie.
Not the end of the world.
Then in 2011, the Genting Group announce plans to build the world's largest casino right smack dab in the middle of our emerging city corridor. Their plans were denied, but as reported recently, they seem hell-bent on building a casino downtown.
Today, the mega club E11even is opening very soon, bringing to Downtown Miami the first ever 24-hour day/night club. Taking advantage of a 24-hour liquor license, the owners spent $40 million building a club that is part LIV, part Cirque De Soleil, and all flash.
The mega-club will cater to high end patrons and also feature a strip club.
Miami is the first city the owners have chosen for E11ven.
When asked why Miami, the owner replied: "We see South Florida as the new Las Vegas. Only better, because there's the beach."
There seems to be this contingent of people and investors (never from Miami) who think Miami is the next Las Vegas. Breaking News: Miami is not and never will be Las Vegas.
Who here wants that?
Let's hope the new club succeeds. They're creating jobs. It could benefit the area. But if they do succeed, it won't be due to locals. Maybe tourists -- but not locals. No one from Miami wants to pay $20-$40 to enter a club. No local wants to pay South Beach prices for drinks.
Miami people like their drinks and music free or cheap.
People who think Miami is the next Las Vegas, or Miami is simply South Beach, don't understand Miami. We are a multicultural, diverse smorgasbord of immigrant culture and transplants. Most of Miami is way more impoverished than flashy or entitled.
Despite our income inequality, we're still growing as a city.
People who think Downtown Miami wants gambling or flashy strip clubs are completely oblivious as to what is transpiring in the area. More and more artists have relocated Downtown, including Cannonball, the Young Arts, Bas Fisher, Dimensions Variable, Primary Projects and so many more. Not to mention the Perez Art Museum. The Science Museum. The Arsht Center. The Ziff Ballet. The Knight Foundation. Miami is evolving. I can't say this enough: we are going through a cultural renaissance. And this culture doesn't include gambling or high end strip clubs. Go to the Magic City Casino. It's depressing.
You want Las Vegas, go to Las Vegas.
We need to grow from within.
We need to develop and foster more emerging industries, like technology -- moving forward, Miami needs to create new jobs, rather than just feed its tourism and hospitality industries.