The Bakehouse Art Complex in Wynwood, Miami. Bakehouse Art Complex.

Bakehouse Art Complex Plans to Build Affordable Housing for Miami Artists

The Bakehouse Art Complex in Miami’s Wynwood district—a nonprofit that offers studio residencies and provides local creatives with access to classrooms; exhibition spaces; a photography lab; and ceramics, woodworking, and welding facilities—wants to expand the scope of its impact in the city by building up to 250 affordable housing units for artists.

The organization’s board of directors has established a five-year strategic plan that outlines how it will better use its 2.3-acre campus to serve the needs of the local arts community. “The redevelopment of Bakehouse ensures artists and art making will have permanence in a city whose real estate costs render this increasingly challenging,” the nonprofit’s “Vision for the Future” statement reads.

Housed in a 33,000-square-foot structure that was once an industrial Art Deco bakery, the cultural hub was founded in 1985 by artists who were evicted from their studios in Coconut Grove. Last year, Bakehouse’s board realized that the nonprofit was “underutilized and underperforming,” which prompted it to hire Bakehouse director Cathy Leff, raise funds for renovation work, and create its new strategic plan, which was underwritten by a $150,000 grant from the Knight Foundation.

Leff told the Miami Herald that Bakehouse wants to overhaul its grounds by transforming several unused ancillary structures and a portion of a large parking lot into housing units. Last week, the complex took the first step to achieving its goal and filed an application to rezone its property and to obtain a land-use amendment, allowing it to convert from a civic and institutional facility to a commercial one. The revitalization and housing project is supported by the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the City of Miami Planning Department, which is striving to construct 12,000 affordable living spaces by 2024.