Category Archives: Miami Beach: South Beach

Information pertaining to South Beach, SoFi, Mid Beach, North Beach, Surfside, Sunny Isles, Bal Harbour, and Aventura

Pestana Opening First US Hotel in South Beach

Portugal-based Pestana Hotels and Resorts Group plans its first North American hotel in the heart of South Beach’s Art Deco District. Portugal’s largest “tourism and leisure” group and Europe’s 25th biggest hotel brand also boasts hotels in Africa and South America.

Pestana South Beach will be located at 1835 James Avenue— one block inland from from Collins Avenue (not far from the planned Lennox Hotel). The Portuguese hotelier does not seem to think its relatively off-the-beaten-track location will deter reservations.

South Beach’s interior has long remained aloof of commercialization but there seems to be a gradual paradigm shift taking form in the nook between the Convention Center and the Bass Museum of Art—where resides some of the island’s finest Spanish Revival and Art Deco architecture.

The selection of South Beach as the launchpad for Pestana’s  North American operations is yet another indication of its remarkable gravitational pull on foreign investment.

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H&M Progress and Forever 21 Goes Big on Lincoln Road

Past glory (left). Present plight (right).

Recently, I saw a line stretch around a block to get into the H&M preview store (first such store I’d ever seen).  The actual store will occupy the historic Lincoln Theatre. I figured this must be good so I passed by to see the progress and found the theatre to be Continue reading

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Lennox Hotel is Tearing it Up in South Beach

Renderings from Kobikarp.com

Demolition activity is commencing at the planned Lennox Hotel (Peter Miller Hotel building) right across the street from the Setai. If completed, it will add to an increasingly impressive hospitality portfolio for architect Kobi KarpContinue reading

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Collins Avenue Development Activity Expanding

Image: Formerly Fairwind Seafood Bar and Grill

On May 17, last year, I wrote a post on the Collins Avenue Shopping District’s relatively rapid emergence and unique attributes. I ended the post by stating:

“The shopping district currently ends at 10th street, but there is room for it to expand northward. Collins, between 10th and 15th streets represents an underutilized segment of the storied avenue.”

Since then, the area north of 10th street on Collins has begun to transform as the anticipated northward expansion of new retail and hotel activity takes place. Structures are getting bought, restored, or demolished to make way for new businesses.

South Beach as a neighborhood and international brand has continuously redefined itself. It’s in these subtle changes, the motifs within the theme, that you see the redefinition taking place, so that every time a New Yorker or Londoner visits SoBe they feel like the experience has improved. This adaptability, along with the endowments nature has granted the island, is the key to its continued success.

Let’s see what this expansion looks like on the ground:

Image: 1221-25 Collins (NY-based owners)

Image: Hotel Webster 1220 Collins

Image: Site of future retail on 12th and Collins

Image: Palmer House Apartments 1119 Collins

Image: Tudor Hotel 1111 Collins

Image: Courtyard adjacent to the Tudor Hotel

Image: formerly David’s Cafe 1058 Collins

Image: Fairwind Hotel 1000 Collins

Image: Stardust Apartments 910 Collins Avenue

Image: Coral House

Image: Franklin Hotel 860 Collins

Image: Close up of the Franklin Hotel

Map: Green line represents existing Collins Avenue shopping District and new retail. The Red line represents the area of northward expansion currently taking place.

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3rd Quarter 07′ Construction Tour: Miami Beach

Let’s take a tour through Miami Beach to take a look at the third quarter status of recently topped off buildings, ongoing construction, and recently started foundation work:

APOGEE (topped off)

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VICEROY (no activity)

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CONTINUUM II (topped off)

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SOUTH OF FIFTH (construction)

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RITZ PLAZA (renovation)

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PARC PLACE (Construction)

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RESIDENCES AT THE W (Construction)

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PARADISO (renovation)

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RIVAGE (no activity)

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RESIDENCES AT THE RITZ – SEVILLE (no activity)

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CIPRIANI (no activity)

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OCEAN 3651 (no activity)

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CARIBBEAN (topped off)

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FONTAINEBLEAU III (topped off)

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EDEN ROC (construction)

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MANSION ON THE BEACH (topped off)

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MEI (topped off)

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TERRA LOFTS (construction)

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63 NOBE (construction)

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CASABLANCA VILLAS (topped off)

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AZUL LOFTS (no activity)

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NOBE BAY (construction)

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REGATTA (recently completed)

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CANYON RANCH (construction)

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1111 LINCOLN (no activity)

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CAPRI (construction)

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MONDRIAN (renovation)

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VITRI (incomplete)

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SHOPS AT FIFTH AND ALTON (ground cleared for construction)

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BEACH HOUSE (no activity)

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CABANA ON COLLINS (renovation)

For more construction tours click on the links below:

Post Script: Do you think this report missed something? If so, Contact BoB. Your input is appreciated.

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Construction Update: Shops at Fifth & Alton

Image: Active construction site for the Shops at 5th and Alton

The Shops at 5th and Alton, which will include 185,000 sq. ft. of vertical retail space and a 943 space parking garage at the 5th street entrance to South Beach, has begun to see activity on its site. U.S. Century Bank is financing development for the Berkowitz Development Group and Potamkin family. The Shops at 5th and Alton will serve as a development anchor for the West Avenue Corridor and SoFi, and further fill-in retail activity along 5th Street.

This project is also significant for shifting economic activity towards the west side of South Beach as well as integrating a novel vertical-retail approach that has worked quite well at Dadeland Station. Publix has signed a letter of intent for space in the new facility.

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A Closer Look: South Beach (West Avenue Corridor)

Orientation

Cyclists, crowded outdoor cafes, restaurants, people walking dogs, cabs, and plenty of pedestrian activity is what the West Ave. Corridor is all about. The neighborhood is a calm haven for local life in touristy South Beach. As mentioned in the introductory post, the MDPL does not designate the neighborhood as a historic district, but that doesn’t mean it lacks aesthetic gusto. There is no neighborhood association, that I could find, registered with the municipality, and on the neighborhoods map, the City of Miami Beach addresses it as West Avenue, but there is much more to it than that.

Images: Side walk cafes in the Corridor

The narrow neighborhood straddles the south west coast of the Billion Dollar Sandbar. It’s located between Biscayne Bay and Alton Road (on the east and west) with Dade Blvd. and 5th Street making up its north and south boundaries. It’s bordered by the quiet Flamingo Park District to the east, popular Lincoln Road to the north east, Sunset Harbor and Bayshore to the north, and SoFi to the south. From the bay line, the world famous Star, Palm, and Hibiscus Islands are a glance away.

Image: Site of Vitri (foreground) and Bentley on the Bay (background)

Residential Activity

Beginning in the south and moving north, the Corridor gets off to an exciting start:

  • Bentley on the Bay, which was hampered by financial issues during construction and later suffered damage from Hurricane Wilma, greets visitors to the neighborhood. Through adversity the glassy twin towers have risen to grace the skyline with their wavy curves.
  • Vitri, located across from the Bentley, will close the development gap in the south with high end loft homes set amid a stunning design. The project is being spearheaded by NYC-based Shaya Boymelgreen as Lev Leviev has reportedly pulled away from most of his Miami interests.
  • North of the Bentley, the Floridian Condo Tower, built in 1997, resembles the Yacht Club at Portofino in SoFi.

Image: Rendering of Vitri

  • On the west side of the Corridor from 8th to 13th street there are seven (7) condos and apartment complexes built, on average, around 1965:
  1. South Bay Club Condo (1966)
  2. South Gate Apartments (1958)
  3. Mirador North (1965)
  4. Mirador South (1968)
  5. The site for the Mondrian (1964)
  6. Bayview Terrace (1971)
  7. Bay Garden Manor (1964)
  • The South Gate Apartment complex on 9th street, which spans almost 200,000 square feet of land is owned by a single entity. The Mondrian development might result in a conversion precedent that can be followed on this highly lucrative spot, which isn’t likely to remain an under utilized apartment complex for long.

Image: View of the Corridor from the Bay line

  • The Morgans Hotel Group’s plans for the Mondrian South Beach on 11th street is a definite positive push for this segment of the neighborhood. The company’s second project with the same name, NY-based MHG is planning a third in Chicago.
  • The Mirador complexes and the other older condo buildings represent a development barrier. Since they are high density and aged, they aren’t likely to be acquired and redeveloped any time soon. The funkiness of the 1960’s and early 1970’s architecture adds a vintage element to the Corridor that adds a bit of pizazz.

Image: Rendering of Twelfth on West

  • The Twelfth on West loft project planned for 12th street will represent an extremely high end and intricately thought out loft development—possibly the most distinguished in the district. Currently, there is little in the way of activity on the site.

North of 13th street there are a few notable developments:

  • Before getting to 13th, one comes across Monad Terrace—an odd little strip of small low income apartment complexes that, in comparison to the surroundings, stands out like a sore thumb. There is no activity on the strip and the Waverly looms conspicuously overhead
  • The Waverly, built in 2001, and designed by renowned Arquitectonica, is a 358ft tall 36 floor high end condominium. It’s one of the more easily identifiable developments in the area—the vertical sides of the building light up in yellow and blue at night.
  • Across the street from the Waverly, to the north, on 14th street, is the Sails Condo, which was built in 1999. The condo association seems to be lax because people have clothing hanging all over the balconies and cable wires hang messily over the roof. This level of sloppiness makes an otherwise nice building look bad.

Image: Waverly

  • 14th street connects with Bay Road which leads directly to the massive Zyscovich-designed Flamingo Condo conversion, owned by MCZ/Centrum. The expansive project has several wings with nicely designed street level lofts and a sleek cylindrical tower with a marked crown that illuminates in blue at night.
  • The east end of 14th terrace on West Avenue has a standout loft project, The Alliage, which features exceptionally high ceilings and deep terraces. There is construction on the site to the south of the Alliage but it isn’t clear what will go up there—probably another loft development. Adjacent to the construction site is 1400 West Avenue, which is up for sale and handled by Majestic.

  • A short walk away from the Alliage, 1577 Bay Road is a refreshingly designed newly constructed loft project called SoBe Bay. The design seems like a tiny condensed version of Ten Museum Park with horizontal-slit glass windows and an elevated cube-frame crown. In my view, there is no doubt that this is the area most well designed loft development. For more information go to Josh Stein’s site.

Image: Capri under construction

  • Off of Bay Road on 16th street is a new construction project called Capri designed by Kobi Karp. The development is high end and immediately north of the Flamingo. The four unit complex on the east of the site is up for sale. Prices start at the 600’s. The road leading up to the development is in worse than poor shape.
  • Farther up Bay Road, the Bayview Plaza Condo on 1621 Bay Road, built in 1997, represents a good quality condo development.
  • The building on the north east corner of Lincoln and Bay Road is up for sale.

Image: SoBe Bay Lofts
Retail/Commercial activity:

  • 929 West Avenue represents the most vital retail hub in the neighborhood. It houses several outdoor cafes including a Starbucks, a video store, a spa, and offices. The complex has ample sidewalks with benches and plenty of shade. It’s lined with people lounging in tables under the cover of colorful umbrellas—reminiscent of Lincoln Road.
  • On 11th street stands 1125 West Avenue, a mixed use condo with office space that includes Zyscovich offices. Built in 2004, the project’s design is an aesthetic asset to the neighborhood.



Image: Rendering Lincoln Square

  • Lincoln Square Miami is planned for the north end of West Avenue on Hank Meyer Blvd. (near Dade Blvd). The project will add retail and residential to the neighborhood’s north side. It’s situated within a short walking distance from Lincoln Road.
  • The vacant land across from the site of Lincoln Square is up for sale and has 30,350 square feet.
  • The ambitiously planned Shops at Fifth and Alton, developed as a JV between the Berkowitz Group and the Potamkin Family, although not inside the parameters of the West Avenue corridor, is near enough to boost traffic and visitor flow in the area. Once built, the project will be the neighborhood’s most important retail anchor.
  • Alton Road, which serves as the east boundary for the neighborhood, has a slew of retail. Although not the main interior thoroughfare in the WAC it is an integral part of makes the Corridor attractive. On Alton you can find anything from physics to coffee and donuts, Italian food, Colombian food, Liquor, flowers, and just about anything one needs.

Image: Flamingo Lofts (foreground) and Tower (background)
Last Glance
The West Avenue Corridor is a work in progress. Parts of it are heavily under utilized (i.e.: Monad Terrace) while there are sections that have projects that are symbols of the high life (Bentley, Vitri, Waverly, Sobe Bay, Alliage, Capri, Mondrian, etc).

The neighborhood is not as quiet and shady as the Flamingo Park District but has more retail and feels more edgy. There are several well situated sites for sale that are ripe for new development, and also an existing massive complex in South Gate Apartments, which if acquired could be redeveloped in magnificent fashion. The Mondrian could be a precedent for such an outcome. Other older condos like the Mirador, are likely to remain untouched by change but are seeing aesthetic renovations that have added value and desirability.

It is difficult to imagine a community better situated than the West Avenue Corridor. It’s flanked by world class neighborhoods and Biscayne Bay. Still, inexplicably, it lacks recognition, but not from BoB.

For more information regarding property value appreciation trends in this neighborhood use:

  

  

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Craig Robbins (Dacra): Revolutionary Development

Native Miamian developer Craig Robbins has been around the block. In South Beach, the influence of his development firm, Dacra, bounces all over the place. While Jorge Perez slams his influence down at the southern tip of the island, Dacra has brought life to the heart of the island community. Dacra is attributed with having ignited the spark of Lincoln Road at a time when the funky strip was underground and unstable. Today, bustling Lincoln Road is the main East/West economic artery in South Beach. The north side of Espanola Way is another major trace that Dacra has imprinted upon South Beach.

Image: Depiction of Lincoln Road in the late 1950’s

In South Beach Dacra’s projects and renovations include:

  • Lincoln Lane
  • 741 Lincoln Road
  • 600 Lincoln Road
  • The Marlin Hotel
  • The Netherland Hotel
  • Miralda Facade (Washington Avenue)
  • North side of Espanola Way

From Dacra’s pioneering efforts in South Beach, the firm moved to create a modern urban island community on Allison Island: Aqua. The Aqua development is revolutionary in that it is contained within and has transformed an entire island in Miami Beach. The project spans 8.5 acres, involves 10 renown architects, and 46 island homes. Aqua is a clear manifestation of the firm’s boundless ambition and vision for Miami.

Holding true to Craig Robbins’ forward-thinking Modus Operandi, he has set his sights on the next frontier of Miami’s emerging urbanism, the Design District. The 18 block district is situated at the north edge of the urban core. There, again, historic structures are at the center of his development activities. Many of the District’s buildings were erected in the 1920’s and 30’s and were neglected for decades. Since Robbins has applied his attention to the area, it has become a center of gravity for Miami’s deepening cultural scene. Dacra has lured 50 showrooms and 40 design and architecture firms. Recently, the firm announced a $220 million expansion of the district. The plans include groundbreaking designs for numerous buildings throughout the neighborhood.

Images: Allison Island in the 1920’s (top) and Aqua on Allison Island today (bottom)

In the same way Craig Robbins’ activities propelled South Beach into its current glamorous position, his rumblings in the northern periphery of the core are stretching Miami’s urban boundaries to areas once thought off limits. Dacra is less a development firm and more a revolutionary urbanization movement. Craig Robbins stands at the head of this surge, and as is the case with all legendary developers, his imprint will alter the cityscape for generations to come.

Image: Aqua at night

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A Closer Look: South Beach (West Ave. Corridor) INTRO

South Beach is divided into 11 historic districts by the Miami Design and Preservations League. This delineation of what neighborhood is what based on architecture is ideal. However, since not all areas have historic significance, the MDPL designations fall short of covering all areas. BoB intends to cover all areas of activity, nodes, neighborhoods, districts, whatever you may call them,based upon historic character, development activity, etc. My recent article on the Flamingo Park District led me to cover a neighboring community, but frankly, I don’t know what to call it. The neighborhood is bordered by Alton Rd (East), West Avenue (West), 5th street (South), and Dade Blvd. (North).

Since I couldn’t rely on MDPL’s map for guidance, I turned to the City of Miami Beach’s neighborhoods map, but there again, I couldn’t get a satisfactory answer. The area is referred to as “West Avenue”. The problem with that is that we’re talking about a neighborhood not an Avenue. Or are we? So in a last attempt to garner a neighborhood title, I reviewed the names of the various subject buildings in the area. Often times, a developer will name a building after the neighborhood, or his/her interpretation of what the neighborhood should be called. In doing so, I found no consistency. Here are some examples:

  • The Bentley Bay
  • The Floridian
  • South Bay Club
  • South Gate apts
  • Mirador
  • Mondrian
  • Mirador II
  • Bayview terrace
  • Bay Garden Manor
  • Waverly
  • Flamingo
  • Island View Park
  • Sunset Harbor
  • Sunset Harbor North

No help there. After some thought, I decided that it is prudent to use the City’s designation but add “corridor” to it. That was quite a bit of thought devoted to getting a title and the process is an indication of how this community is, in many respects, off the radar. With that said, I can now work on the 2nd installment of A Closer Look: South Beach (West Avenue Corridor -WAC), which will highlight a neighborhood that, despite certain development challenges, is poised to become South Beach’s next signature community.

Image: Mondrian coming soon to the WAC

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A Closer Look: South Beach (Flamingo Park District South)

Map: The area outlined in red is the Flamingo Park District South, which is the focus of this piece.

Orientation

This weekend I had a discussion with Josh Stein– a well known realtor specializing in high end South Beach lofts– and he mentioned that the area from 5th street to 11th in between Alton Road and Euclid Avenue was the frontier of South Beach. I thought “frontier of South Beach” sounds kind of paradoxical, but after giving the area a closer look, I’ve come to realize that Josh’s assessment is on the money.

Map: Flamingo Park District in its entirety is shown in Pink

The area in question is designated as the Flamingo Park Historic District by the Miami Design Preservation League. Josh mentioned the southern part of this district. I will, therefore, focus on the southern half of the Flamingo Park District from 5th street to 11th street (south to north) and from Alton to Pennsylvania Ave (west to east).

Images: Foliage in the District

First off, it goes without saying that the Flamingo Park District is surrounded by a hubbub of activity on almost every side. The raucous Washington Avenue runs along the east side of the District. The busy Alton Road runs along the west side. The bourgeoning SoFi area sizzles to the south. Interestingly, the area has no major residential or commercial development anchors, but that will soon change with the shops at 5th and Alton, which is currently planned but not yet seeing any construction activity. The anchor will hold down the area’s south west corner. Other developments that are sure to influence the district are Vitri, also to the south west, and the Mondrian to the north west.

Image: The Terrace Loft

Activity

The distinctly Floridian neighborhood is composed of a melange of sharply designed historic buildings creating a rich tapestry of pastel colors all set amid lush green tropical foliage. It is pedestrian friendly and shaded in most avenues. The Flamingo Park District is vestige of Miami Beach’s past and most genuine island lifestyle. The architecture gives one a sense of the city’s history. While South Beach is synonymous with noise, traffic, and partying, the Flamingo Park District affords its residents a tropical retreat.

Image: 1016 Meridian

The area maintains itself as a historic and relatively untapped, which would explain Josh Stein’s assessment, but there is quite a bit of activity changing the face of this funky and colorful enclave:

  • Casa 40 (1061 Michigan Avenue) is a newly renovated loft project with prices starting at 595k

Image: Villa Lucca under construction

  • Down the Road from Casa 40 is Villa Lucca, which is a combination restoration and new construction development on Michigan Avenue involving four properties (1045, 1037, 1025, 1027) and 15 residences. The new construction is called the Villa Lucca Condominium and will feature roof top terraces with jacuzzis.
  • The Terrace is a new loft project also on Michigan Avenue. It doesn’t appear to have a website but features high ceilings, covered parking, and rooftop terraces. Sales are being handled by Ingrid Lopez at Miami Elite Brokers.
  • The 762 Lenox Avenue historic building is for sale.

Image: Casa 40

  • 1041 8th Street is also for sale and being handled by Susan Gale/Majestic Properties.
  • 734 Michigan Avenue represents the most luxurious and singularly designed loft project in the District. Sales are being handled by Josh Stein and BoB will provide you with a look inside soon.
  • The building to the north of 734 Michigan (740, 742, 744) is boarded up and ripe for redevelopment.
  • Nine 45 Jefferson is another new loft project with 7 high end 2/2.5 town homes. The project is designed by Kobi Karp.



Image: 734 Michigan Ave

  • 960 Jefferson Avenue is for Sale
  • 928 Jefferson Avenue is newly renovated and units are for sale including 6 studios and 1 townhouse.
  • 751 Meridian is newly renovated and has condos up for sale starting at $189,900
  • 729 Meridian (Helen Rose) is newly renovated and offering state of the art designer finishes for its one bedroom units.
  • Also on Meridian Ave., Villa Veneto offers 8 “elegantly restored” 1 and 2 bedroom (2 story town homes) units starting at $179,700
  • Porto Condos on 9th and Meridian will be newly renovated and condos will start from the high $200’s. Sales are being handled by Ocean International Realty.
  • The Ambassador, also on Meridian, is being restored and will offer 1/1 and 2/2 units. It will feature Italian kitchens, stainless steel appliances, bamboo flooring, high impact windows and more. Sales are being handled by International Living Realty.



Image: A shady Meridian Avenue

  • 1017 Meridian is a brand new strikingly-designed loft project on Meridian Avenue. According to Zillow, a unit there was sold recently for $542k
  • The 1120 Meridian building (14 units) is for sale.
  • Greta Condominium is a newly restored condo on Euclid starting from the $180’s.
  • The historic 935 Euclid building was recently restored and has some units up for sale.
  • The Citadel Group still has one unit left in the Moulin Rouge project, although their site claims all have been sold. they should change the sign.
  • Blue Place is another recently restored development in the area. Prices start at the 300’s. More information can be found on Miamirealestate.com.


Image: 1051 Meridian (the historic Flamingo Plaza building)

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