Warren Adams

Coral Gables Historical Resources and Cultural Arts Director

Warren Adams was born in Kearny, New Jersey, but you would not know that from his accent, cured to rolling, resonant musicality in Paisley, Scotland, where he was raised from infancy by his Scottish parents. He studied at the University of Paisley and in England at the University of York before focusing on historic preservation in Scotland. Adams moved to the U.S. in 2004 to take a preservation planner position in Delray Beach, and from there went on to found the historic preservation department in Boynton Beach. He served as executive director of the Broward Trust for Historic Preservation and as the historic preservation planner for West Palm Beach before being named preservation officer for the City of Miami in 2017. Voluntary roles include chairing both the Palm Beach County Historic Resources Review Board and City of Boynton Beach Historic Preservation Ad Hoc Committee. 

Latest Achievement

When Adams was named chief of the city’s historic preservation department earlier this year, he felt as if he had landed his dream job. “There are certain places that anybody who works in historic preservation would like to work, where people respect the structures, the art, the culture. One of those places is Coral Gables,” he said. In the United Kingdom, Adams studied planning documents hundreds of years old, often written on parchment paper. Here the past may be less deep, but no less important. “It starts with Merrick’s vision, with the planned city, the City Beautiful movement. We still have that overall feeling of what his original intention was.” Adams will also oversee the Cultural Grants and Art in Public Places programs. 

What He Says

“I don’t subscribe to [the notion] that we have to save everything, but we have to save the best examples,” says Adams. “If you have to search for a reason to make something historic, it probably doesn’t rise to meet the criteria. You want to allow room for growth, and obviously, you want to encourage good new development, which in 60, 70 years will be the examples we will want to preserve,” he says. “In every community, there are always going to be people with differing opinions, from saving nothing to saving everything. It’s all about getting that balance right.” Adams says he recognizes pressure from developers, and that homeowners wish to cash in on rising property values. But, he says, “there is a process we go through.” 

Warren Adams - Coral Gables Historical Resources and Cultural Arts Director