I think I may have worded that in a slightly convoluted manner. I think the Miami of the late 1990s was more "provincial" than today's Miami, not the other way around. I remember not being overly impressed by its skyline in 1997, having just flown in from Frankfurt.
I'd say the city has definitely become more interesting in terms of some of its architecture. What struck me nonetheless was the sense that quite a few apartments appeared empty. Don't know if people just buy some places for certain periods of the year or simply acquire them as an investment. I did ask myself on a few occasions though who exactly lived in all those apartment blocks that have gone up over the last 20 years. Did Miami create that many new jobs? Or are they the 2nd or 3rd homes of wealthy Latin Americans? In terms of living costs I was also quite astonished. Buying a few groceries at Publix would set you back $50...stuff for which I'd pay perhaps no more than 25 to 30 euros back home (and I'm not necessarily living in the poorest part of Germany). I don't really have a gauge though if it was quite this expensive 20 years ago since I wasn't buying the groceries back then.
Freedom Tower Miami