Before we begin on the houses and the art, a refresher on Faena’s history is in order. It’s what over a billion dollars can build if the checks have no chance of bouncing, particularly when written by Russian oil tycoon Len Blavatnik. With a net worth of $19.5 billion, he underwrote eccentric, perpetually-hatted Argentinian Alan Faena’s grandiose Miami dreams to create a Mid-beach arts mecca and mythical utopia (<– check out that sizzle reel). These guys had so much juice (read: money), they convinced the fawning City of Miami Beach Mayor and Commissioners to formally designate their hotel, a performing arts center, retail complex, a smaller hotel and three planned condos as an actual city within the city – The Faena Art District. Miami Beach hadn’t heard the b-word since the Fontainebleau’s 3-comma refurbishment, so leadership tripped over themselves to participate in a lavish, mind boggling carnivale for the district’s grand opening.
Faena had hired the world’s best architects and creatives – Sir Norman Foster and Rem Koolhaas, along with Moulin Rouge film director Baz Luhrmann and wife Catherine Martin, herself an Academy Award-winning costume designer. In a sea of fire-engine reds and golds, glam brothel vibes and animal prints, the combination of design, talent and hype intoxicated even the biggest skeptics. Said South Beach Wine & Food Festival Founder Lee Schrager to the NY Times, “I thought the Faena district was a lot of talk, and even without it being fully done, it has turned Mid-Beach, a neighborhood no one really knew about, into the place to be.”
But even with endless money and vision, things haven’t completely gone as planned, because Miami, in the end, is a rather small town that apparently couldn’t support the sheer heft of Faena’s ambition. Faena Forum, the performing arts center, isn’t burgeoning with performances – it’s being marketed as a rental venue. Faena Bazaar, the luxury retail complex, is also being marketed as a rental venue although there’s an upcoming new retail popup activation for Basel. Billionaires are selling their Faena House condos. Hedge fund titan Ken Griffin has been trying for years to sell his preposterous penthouse for $73 million. Days after Kim and Kanye bought a $16 million unit in the same building, they suddenly backed out. And when Miami’s super luxury housing market hit a brick wall in 2016, a lingering condo project was paused, Faena Mar.
Even so, Faena appears to be wildly successful. Artist Damien Hirst’s golden wooly mammoth is still the most surreal, Instagrammable shot in the entire city. Faena House condominium apparently did sell out. The endlessly romantic confines of the hotel is rated 4.5 stars on over 1,450 reviews on TripAdvisor, restaurant Pao by Paul Qui is 4.8 stars on over 700 reviews on OpenTable, and Los Fuegos by Francis Mallmann is 4.6 stars on over 1,000 reviews on OpenTable. Faena Theater continues to book live theater (now playing: The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover), concerts, karaoke and comedians. Faena Art has an action-packed Art Basel lineup titled Faena Festival: The Last Supper. And The Living Room lounge continues to be popular with the jetset, with much-needed and constant live musical entertainment (which Miami Beach sorely needs more of), although the $25 drinks hurt like viper bites.
With hotels and developments in Miami Beach and Buenos Aires, all this endless creative vision and endless access to capital has made Alan Faena and his ex wife, Ximena Caminos, current creative director of HoneyLab (more on that below) and former executive creative director of Faena, quite rich. Separately, they’re selling two homes just 7 blocks apart on Pinetree Drive for a combined $22,450,000.
Let’s start with Caminos’ vibrant house at 5454 Pinetree Drive. Priced at $5,950,000 after a recent price reduction (read: the market is soft), she paid $4 million for the landlocked 1928-built, 6 bedroom, 6 bath, 6,638sf house on a 15,000sf lot in 2016. Let’s go inside. (Photos by Realtor.com)
Just down the street at 4731 Pinetree Drive, Alan Faena is selling his equally extravagant home, priced at $16.5 million, which he paid $10 million for in 2014. With 9 bedrooms and 7 1/2 baths spanning over 9,600sf, the mansion sits on a 42,700sf waterfront lot on Indian Creek overlooking Blue and Green Diamond condo towers. Dubbed Villa Crono, with two distinct structures and a dock, it was built in 1927. Let’s take a look inside. (Photos by Realtor.com)
Moving on to art, with Art Basel just a week or so away, it’s also important to share an epic art installation HoneyLabs’ Ximena Caminos is curating on the sands of Miami Beach at Lincoln Road. Titled Order of Importance and commissioned by the City of Miami Beach, Argentinian artist / sand sculptor Leandro Erlich is constructing 66 life-sized cars of various makes, models and sizes, in six juxtaposing lanes of 11 cars apiece.
Replete with highway guardrails, the huge standstill traffic jam artwork – Erlich’s largest installation to date – is meant to draw attention to the climate crisis as cars across the world converge, pollute, yet often don’t move, with drivers sitting helplessly.
Said the artist to Wallpaper Magazine, “The beach has been a symbol of leisure and prosperity for so many years, and in particular for Miami. But now there is a frontline feeling about the beach. It has become a different kind of stage.”
Renderings of Order of Importance: Leandro Erlich Studio