MiamiHerald / The Tower Hotel in Little Havana has lived many lives.
Built in 1920, it’s been a YMCA, a World War II hospital, a haunt for jazz musicians Billie Holiday, Count Basie, and Chet Baker, the Tower Apartments and the Tower Hotel, and, most recently, the home of an immersive theater experience .
David Schechtman, whose family owned the the Tower Hotel from 1955 to 2012, grew up inside the walls of the historic building, which bore witness to the transformation of Southwest Eighth Street into Calle Ocho.
“It’s seen the blues. It’s seen the whole American people down there. It was a Jewish community. And then it was Cuban through El Mariel [boatlift in 1980],” Schechtman said, “through all the different cultural and history changes.”