TODAY   |  February 22, 2013

Welcome to Miami: TODAY takes a South Beach tour

Miami is poised to become a cultural mecca, with a new art center under construction and world-class hotels and restaurants.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> trip finds us an ideal spot for a winter vacation , miami beach . it's gone through a lot of changes in recent years. now, more people are coming here to stay. miami wants the world to know it means business. once considered just a playground, miami has become an international center of commerce, but a cultural mecca, competing with the likes of new york and london.

>> it used to be for retirees and party people . it's become more than that, one of the most vibrant cities, not only in the united states , but in the world.

>> new art center is under construction, world class hotels and restaurants. it's all here, as well as something that the others don't have year round, sunshine.

>> when our friends across the country were digging themselves out of the snow last week, we had weather like this. why wouldn't you want to do business in miami ?

>> this was miami less than three decades ago. and this is miami today . that shoreline now part of a bustling cityscape. and the rest of the world wants a piece of the action . 40 million people pass through miami international airport in 2012 , a new record. those with money to spend are here to stay.

>> this home behind me is on the market for $19 million. and we expect to sell it quickly.

>> reporter: the high end of miami 's property market is surging.

>> everyone in the international set wants to have a home in miami .

>> today the miami skyline is dotd with cranes, a sign of life after the economic downturn. but who is to say this boom won't also go bust? after all, miami still has one of the highest foreclosure rates in america.

>> it's different this time. the investors are smarter. the developers are smarter. and now we're just ready to pick pick -- take off again.

>> taking off as more and more people arrive every day to take it in. i've got to say, what's not to love here?

>> what's not to love? i know.

>> this is like a video postcard we're having this morning.

>> and chamber of commerce weather.

>> it is, indeed.

>> i got in late last night. you feel the energy the minute you arrive in town.

>> does that mean you stayed up all night?

>> i don't want to disclose too much.

>> willie's maid will have a very easy time doing his room.

>> the party was still going on till about 2:00 this morning outside the window of