Entrepreneur Chris Burch backs Miami developer’s Hialeah transformation

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Chris Burch, 68, founder and CEO of Burch Creative Capital, has agreed to become a funder and key partner for Factory Town in East Hialeah.

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Hialeah gets hip

Driven by developers such as Arva Jain, which converts warehouses into entertainment venues, Hialeah is becoming a place to see and see.

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Christopher Burch, the ultra-wealthy entrepreneur who helped launch the Tory Burch fashion house and one of the finest and most remote hotels in the world, recognized early on the value, potential and indefinable appeal of a place with history and raw architecture.

For his very first adventure, burchwho grew up outside of Philadelphia, bought and renovated an old warehouse in the nearby decaying industrial city of Conshohocken with his brother, to serve as the headquarters for their sweater and clothing brand Eagle’s Eye, a startup later sold for $60 million.

In the early 2000s, Burch supported Argentinian artist and designer Alan Faena in the conversion of a dilapidated grain warehouse on the abandoned Puerto Madero docks in Buenos Aires to a luxury hotel designed by Philippe Starck, paving the way for the district to become the capital of the city’s vibrant nightlife.

Then in 2012, after selling his share of the clothing brand he launched in 2004 with his then-wife Tory for $650 million, he bought a rustic surf lodge on the island. far from Sumba, Indonesia. He and a partner spent $30 million to turn it into a laid-back but luxurious resort, Nihirecognized by Conde Nast Traveler and Travel and Leisure magazines as one of the best in the world for several years in a row.

So when Miami developer Avra ​​Jain, known for her knack for identifying and revitalizing undervalued historic properties, told her about her most recent and ambitious endeavor – the conversion of a former factory from six-acre mattress in a former industrial Hialeah music, arts and entertainment complex called Factory Town it would preserve the weathered and decaying bones of the site – Burch listened. And he liked what he heard.

Burch, 68, founder and CEO of Burch’s Creative Capital, has agreed to become a funder and key partner of Factory Town. He explained why to the Miami Herald in a phone interview from the Caribbean.

Q: How did you come into contact with Avra ​​Jain and her partners at Factory Town?

“A guy from my company introduced us. I met her and spoke to her. She’s amazing, by the way. You can simply say that she is full of creation, vigor, passion, integrity and hard work. It includes budgets and collaboration. I hope to be a great partner for her.

Q: It’s not easy to explain what Factory Town is. There is no development master plan. What attracted you to supporting him?

“Whatever project I get into, I don’t want it to be normal. I looked at this Factory Town and thought this might be the start of something very unusual. I can feel the energy of it, the way it’s built, the people and the location. I don’t know of any other place that is quite like this.

“When you walk into Factory Town, you feel like you’ve traveled a bit. When you walk through those doors and half the buildings are half torn down, you walk through a piece of Hialeah history and feel those walls. We live in a world where buildings are often just buildings, so how do we elicit an emotional response?

“I attended a music event in Factory Town…and I was blown away. I thought, this is such a feeling.

Q: How do you see the future evolution of Factory Town? How to redevelop without losing the raw and open aspect that initially attracted you?

“We see it as a kind of experiment. My vision is a place where people can go, where the entertainment is amazing, where we can build offices for all the people that come in, and we can bring in restaurants and music and do it in a different way there where we are part of the community. A cool space with cool people.

“I’m also very obsessed with this idea of ​​how we work and how we think about cities. We can have gymnasiums and outdoor pools and have industrial uses and create jobs.

“The way we think about the future of Factory Town has to be organic. Just bringing these trees in (Jain brought in a range of mature trees saved from development projects in South Florida) brought life at the location.

“It has to be real, it has to be authentic. It does not need to be programmed. Creativity comes from a group of people. It must be done with integrity and taste.

Q: How long do you plan to be involved in Factory Town?

I work on my projects over periods of 10 years. We will move forward as fast as we find interesting concepts. We are just getting started. What we’re doing there is kind of crazy. It’s strange. That works. This one is very important for us to stay pure. I think what we’re going to do will make the neighborhood better.

Andres Viglucci covers urban affairs for the Miami Herald. He joined the Herald in 1983.

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