The 6,500-pound, painted steel Pan Am globe greeted generations of patrons who visited the former Miami Science Museum for 55 years until the museum’s closing in 2015. Following years of uncertainty about its future, one of Miami’s most beloved historical artifacts has been permanently installed at Miami Worldcenter, the $4 billion, 27-acre mixed use development underway in the heart of Downtown Miami.
The future of the globe was in doubt when the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science opened its new building in Downtown Miami; the institution sought a local partner to take ownership of the Pan Am globe due to the complexity and cost of relocating it from its previous position in the museum’s lobby.
In 2020, Miami Worldcenter’s ownership, led by Miami Worldcenter Associates in partnership with CIM Group, acquired the Pan Am globe from Frost Science. The two were brought together by the HistoryMiami Museum, which saw the value of preserving the globe as a public asset. In January 2021, the Miami Worldcenter developers successfully removed the Pan Am globe from the former museum building, placed it aboard a flatbed truck, and relocated the sphere to a secure location for an extensive restoration by international artist Franz Ackermann. Miami Worldcenter has invested over $700,000 in the relocation, restoration, and weatherproofing of the globe, ensuring this piece of Miami history will be publicly accessible to generations of residents and visitors.
“Miami Worldcenter is poised to become the heart of Downtown Miami, so it made perfect sense for the iconic Pan Am globe to stand out as the centerpiece of our city within a city,” Nitin Motwani, Managing Partner of Miami Worldcenter, said. “We are honored to have led the restoration efforts for this important piece of Miami history and give it a proper stage where Miamians can continue to admire it for generations.”
The globe, manufactured by Rand McNally, was originally commissioned in the 1930s by Pan American Airways to serve as the centerpiece of its Dinner Key seaplane terminal. Before it became a museum piece, the globe — with a circumference of 31 feet, five inches — was initially installed in the center of Pan Am’s Art Deco terminal that opened in 1934 at Dinner Key. That building would eventually become Miami City Hall.
“The Pan Am globe is an iconic piece of our history,” City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said. “For almost a century, it has witnessed first-hand Miami’s growth and transformation. I am glad to see such an emblematic piece of our city be installed in Downtown as we embark on our journey to become the global capital for innovation, technology, and opportunity.”
As one of the largest urban mixed-use developments in the U.S. – behind New York City’s Hudson Yards and CIM Group’s Centennial Yards in Atlanta – Miami Worldcenter will be the City’s epicenter for where lifestyle and business intersect, comprised of a diverse mix of residential, commercial and hospitality uses complemented by approximately 300,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, and entertainment space.
“An important aspect of placemaking is to have memorable visual elements such as original artworks and pieces that have a connection to the community such as the historic Pan Am Globe. Miami Worldcenter provides all of this and more in an architecturally distinctive and welcoming environment,” Shaul Kuba, Co-Founder and Principal, CIM Group, said.
Several phases of the project have already been completed, including three residential towers – PARAMOUNT Miami Worldcenter, Caoba, and Bezel Miami – and approximately 175,000 square feet of retail space. The development’s enticing lineup of recently announced tenants includes two food and beverage concepts by Michelin-star Chef Michael Beltran, Brasserie Laurel and El Vecino, opening later this year; Chicago’s Maple & Ash and etta restaurants; as well as Bowlero, Sephora, and Lucid Motors.
Coming up, a 351-room citizenM hotel is expected to open at Miami Worldcenter by the end of the year, along with another 125,000 square feet of retail space. Additionally, construction is now underway at the 52-story Miami World Tower, which will comprise 550 multifamily apartment units; at Legacy Hotel & Residences, a 50-story mixed-use tower with 310 branded residences atop a hotel and 50,000 square feet of medical office space; and at the second phase of Caoba, which will encompass an adjacent 40-story tower with 420 multifamily apartments.
Planned developments include The Crosby, a 450-unit turn-key condominium by Related Group and Merrimac Ventures; a pair of “supertall” residential towers by New York-based Naftali Group; and a three-tower mixed-use project by The Witkoff Group, which will include up to 2,000 residential units as well as 550,000 square feet of office space and 50,000 square feet of retail.
Miami Worldcenter’s development team also recently launched a $5 million public art initiative – curated by international art dealer Jeffrey Deitch and Miami-based curatorial collective PRIMARY – that will transform the streets and buildings of the 27-acre ‘city within a city’ into a permanent outdoor art museum. The program’s first piece to be completed is a massive colorful mural by Nina Chanel Abney, which graces the walls of a pedestrian tunnel under the development’s PARAMOUNT residential tower and the exterior façade of its multi-level parking garage. Additional artists confirmed to exhibit pieces at Miami Worldcenter include Woody De Othello, Viktor El-Saieh, Nick Cave, and Trenton Doyle Hancock.