September 30, 2011 | Washington Post

MIAMI — The part of Miami where Mera and Donald Rubell put their museum and home was a dangerous, ramshackle section of abandoned warehouses and rundown residences, with buildings still scarred by the 1980 race riots and streets that even the police were wary of entering.

The Rubells hit Miami 19 years ago. Today, their Wynwood neighborhood is ablaze with color, with murals, art galleries, cafes and top-shelf eateries luring hipsters and big spenders alike. The Rubells’ family museum — housed in a former Drug Enforcement Agency warehouse where the cocaine, cash and Kalashnikovs that spelled Miami Vice were once stored — was a major catalyst of the makeover...

Read more

The Rubells: Art collectors with edge make D.C. their own

June 18, 2010 | BaltimoreBrew

Baltimore, MD (June 18, 2010) – On Monday evening, Barclay resident Connie Ross sat in the basement of Ebenezer Baptist Church on the corner of E. 23rd Street surrounded by developers and community organizers and prayed. Wearing a green shirt printed with a cat, a boom box and the phrase “Do not disturb,” Ross sat next to her granddaughter and asked for a “productive meeting,” that this Friday would be “a good day,” and that “the community will be more involved in the process in the future.”

Why? Because today Ross’ community and the group she leads, the Barclay-Midway-Old Goucher Coalition (BMOG), are celebrating a huge turning point for what has been, in recent years, one of the most blighted parts of Baltimore...

Read more

Barclay community celebrates phase 1 of major $85 million housing makeover

April 14, 2010 | New York Times

Selling real estate can be quite an ordeal these days, but the Corcoran Gallery of Art has found a buyer for a large piece of property in a section of southwest Washington where construction has all but stalled in the economic downturn.

The Corcoran plans to sell the property, an abandoned school for which it once had its own development plans, to a partnership that includes the art collectors Don and Mera Rubell. The buyers are looking to build apartments and a luxury hotel with an in-house museum at the site.

The Rubells, who already own the Capitol Skyline Hotel across the street from the former Randall School, at the corner of I Street and Half Street SW, live in Miami and have a private museum there...

Read more

Museum’s Deal Raises Hope and Eyebrows in Washington

March 18, 2009 | Commercial Appeal Memphis

Memphis, TN (March 18, 2009) – The old Lowenstein department store building is an eyesore no more.

A $20 million renovation has brought the Downtown landmark at Main and Jefferson back to life after decades of abuse and neglect.

Built in 1886 for B. Lowenstein and Bros., it survived fire, demolition threats and a 1960s suburban-style makeover.

Court Square Center LLC partners Willie Chandler, Yorke Lawson and John Basek will hold a grand opening from 5:30 to 8 p.m. today to show off the 28-unit apartment building that opened last December.

Lowenstein is part of a three-building project that features apartments on upper floors and ground-floor commercial. It also takes in Lincoln-American Tower, built in 1926, and the new CA2 Building, under construction where the Court Annex building burned...

Read more

History reborn: Grand opening celebrates Lowenstein renovation

February 10, 2008 | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The old institutional feel of the place is gone.

In Second East Hills, New York-based developer Telesis Corp. individualized the 326 units with new designs and bright colors.

It cost $44 million, but the neighborhood now looks more like a suburban development than a housing project.

"The physical condition has improved, so people have pride," said Sharon Fields, a community volunteer who lives with her 19-year-old son, a technical school student in the process of moving into his own apartment. "Before, it looked like a concentration camp. Now, it's pepped up."

Telesis also built an immaculate community center for meetings, after-school programs and domestic seminars...

Read more

How money and policing are rebuilding East Hills