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The Visionary Avra Jain

The Visionary Avra Jain

 

 





Introduction to Avra Jain.  2:13 min.  Interview:  Raymond Elman.  Post-Production:  Rafael Hernandez.  Music:  Carmen Cicero.  Recorded via Zoom:  3/11/2021, Miami.

 

 

AVRA JAIN specializes in investing and revitalizing emerging areas. Having done so previously in downtown Manhattan in the early 1990s, she brought the same urban-infill approach to Miami’s markets. With a career path that has taken her from bond trading on Wall Street to developing properties along some of Miami’s historic streets, Avra Jain has earned a reputation for identifying the next “it” neighborhoods.

Ms. Jain started her career as a developer in New York City in 1992, when she left Wall Street to convert a 100,000 square foot loft warehouse located in Tribeca into luxury condominiums, known as Cobblestone Lofts. Additionally, she converted an old SRO located at 220 Bowery to commercial use, as well as adaptive re-use projects in SoHo at 420 W Broadway and 220 Broadway to hospitality and commercial use.

In addition to her nationally-recognized historic renovation of the Vagabond Motel, Ms. Jain owns numerous projects on the neighboring Biscayne Corridor, which is benefitting from substantial investment in the adaptive re-use and re-purposing of previously abandoned or under-utilized and poorly maintained properties. Ms. Jain’s other Upper East Side investments on Biscayne Boulevard include: the Gold Dust at 77th Street, the Knoxon on 74th Street, the Stephan’s on 64th Street, the South Pacific on 63rd Street, an office building at 55th Street, and the Bayside Motor Inn at 51st Street.

Ms. Jain also co-owned land in the Design District, the ground-floor retail spaces at Marina Blue condominium in downtown Miami, the Regions bank block at 3550 Biscayne Boulevard, and the adaptive reuse commercial project at 3415 NE 2nd Avenue in Midtown Miami. In 2002, Jain and her partners spent $19 million assembling nearly five acres of land by the Adrienne Arsht Center for Performing Arts. The property was subsequently sold to the State of Florida for $78 million.

The recipient of three Sundance Film Awards for the documentary Dark Days, this industrial engineering graduate from Purdue University develops projects based around two of her favorite pursuits: art and architecture. Jain suggests “Through art and architecture, life and lifestyle are integrated. Through life and lifestyle, communities and neighborhoods are created.” When Jain is not re-imagining skylines, she spends time with her 15-year-old daughter Alexandra, whom she affectionately refers to as “my greatest accomplishment.” Some of her most recent recognitions include:  the AIA Miami “Developer of the Year 2016,” for her Historic Preservation work and the “2017 Community Catalyst Award” for her Affordable Housing initiatives. Avra serves on the Miami Foundation, Dade Heritage Trust, Locust Projects, and University of Miami’s Master of Real Estate Development + Urbanism Advisory Boards.

 

The videos below were recorded via Zoom,  are organized by topic, and run between 30 seconds and 14 minutes. Click on any video. You must be connected to the Internet to view the videos.

 

CREATES A UNIQUE PERSONAL BRAND:  13:08 min.





For me, MiMO architecture (Mid-Century Modern) doesn’t have the same intrinsic beauty as the Art Deco architecture in South Beach, for example. Why did you invest in the Vagabond Motel and other MiMO buildings in what now is called the MiMo Biscayne Boulevard Historic District?

 

EXPOSURE TO BROAD INFLUENCES:   9:12 min.





Where were you born, where did you grow up, and what was your earliest memory of art of any discipline?

 

CREATES A UNIQUE PERSONAL BRAND:  13:31 min.





Were your parents born in the United States?

 

SELF-CONFIDENCE:  1:59 min.





You said that most of the time during your projects, you are the only woman in the room. How does that feel?

 

CREATES A UNIQUE PERSONAL BRAND:  5:06 min.





In my experience, I’ve never seen anything like the bold Al Held-like images that you painted on the walls of the guest rooms at The Vagabond Hotel. What were you thinking, what was the inspiration, and how did that evolve?

 

UNDERSTANDS THE BUSINESS OF ART:  5:43 min.





I am stunned that the estate of Al Held caused problems. You didn’t duplicate his paintings, you were imitating his style, which has happened throughout art history.

 

COLLABORATION: 6:18 min.





Did you work with Tanya Bravo and Juggerknot Theater on Miami Motel Stories?

 

COMMUNITY VALUES:   3:11 min.





With an Ellies Award from OoliteArts, I created 40 x 60 inch mixed media portraits and video interviews of performers and patrons from the Jim Crow era Hampton House. Maybe we could do the same thing for the MiMo Biscayne Boulevard Historic District?

 

COMMUNITY VALUES:  3:31 min.





Talk about the work you are doing with affordable housing.

 

SERENDIPITY:  0:34 sec.





The mermaid on the bottom of the pool at The Vagabond reminds me of the Robert Altman film “Three Women.” Have you seen that movie?