There’s a large two-story house just north of 36th Street on the borders of Little Haiti and the Design District painted Port-Au-Prince baby blue and surrounded by unruly bougainvillea, morning glory vines, and empty cognac bottles. The downstairs has been claustrophobic since the windows were covered with concrete; the wood floors have gone scuffed and scratched and a steep, groaning staircase leads to the rooms on the second floor. It was bought by Leonard Tachmes, a board-certified plastic surgeon who, according to his website, specializes in “Brazilian butt-lifts, mommy-makeovers, and breast augmentations.” Purchased for half-a-million dollars at the frantic peak of the housing market boom, the house went into foreclosure and remains in legal limbo, owned by multiple banks and now worth significantly less. Like the sea of foreclosed homes across Miami-Dade County, the house exists for an indefinite time under uncertain circumstances. But unlike most of those homes, it’s been claimed as a place for refuge, community exchange, and cultural production.
[Published March 1, 2013 in the Miami Rail. Read the rest here.]