Miami real estate news and information

Archive for the 'MIAMI’S TOP NEIGHBORHOODS' Category


Summer weekends offer a bevvy of  THINGS to do in MIAMI … So whether you’re hitting the beach, golfing, or heading out to the Everglades … or you’re just looking for a place to sit and peoplewatch, or for something DIFFERENT and out of the ordinary to do on any given weekend : Check out the GREAT GABLES  link.   A sampling of things to do THIS WEEKEND IN MIAMI:  

New Theater is offering $10 July weekends

Saki 101 is this weekend at WHOLE FOODS MARKET in Coral Gables (Learn the history of saki… and about pairing saki  with cheeses!)  …  Reservations are required and space is limited 305- 421-9421.  Friday  July 17 at 7pm.

Biltmore-Brunch-1Or head over for  free SUNDAY TOURS of the BILTMORE HOTEL…. And… for one of the nicest brunch spots around…  try the interior courtyard of THE BILTMORE HOTEL!

Another truly exceptional resource for :                                                              THINGS TO DO IN MIAMI is Miami Beach 411 !         

It just doesn’t get much better than this!

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Mary Brickell Village – Miami Real Estate: Infrastructure gives life to Brickell!

Brickell has become the  ‘new’  face of Miami, seemingly overnight.  Mary Brickell Village  added both charm and infrastructure  to the up-and-coming neighborhood of Brickell Avenue/Downtown and made it come alive!    Mary Brickell Village  is basically by  SW 10th Street,  just west of Brickell Avenue…  offering vibrant night-life, with both upscale and more “neighborhood/laid-back” dining.

img112A brand new Publix  just opened there a month ago:  31,000 square feet  of  “Green”  supermarket on the west side of Mary Brickell Village. You’ll also find a  drycleaner ,  tobacconist,  ice-creamery, chocolatier,  Kinko’s, FedEx, and a pharmacy…       along with several delightful dining spots. 

Mary Brickell Village is a   charming   ‘center of town’      (in  the heart of the financial and banking center of Miami)…    a quick ride from the Miami  International Airport…  a stone’s throw from Brickell Key,  Bayfront Park and the Performing Arts Center…  and literally right across the bridge from both Miami Beach  and Key Biscayne (with their endless water, sandy beaches, and resort lifestyles … )  

The  neighborhood  around Brickell could definitely use a movie theatre,  and is screaming for a local bookstore (Books & Books would be a definite asset!) … but Brickell is coming along by leaps and bounds.   

The Brickell MetroRail station and People Mover offer easy access into and out of MaryBrickell Village.   Reasonably priced parking is available (street and garage). 

A few blocks north you’ll find the Capital Grille, the quaint and characteristic Miami River Waterfront  and waterfront promenadeIl Gabbiano’s stunning waterview dining, and Tobacco Road …. And within Mary Brickell itself are newly-opening shops and boutique-style stores… Mary Brickell Village restaurants, many offering OUTDOOR dining, are worth seeking out even if you’re not living in the immediate area!)

 Among our favorites are  BalansOceanaire Seafood, Abokado Sushi,  Blue Martini, Grimpa, Segafredo, Blu Pizza e Cucina, and Rosa Mexicano…  (Mary Brickell Village reminds me of  what Lincoln Road brought to Miami Beach,  raising real estate  values and encouraging further development and growth in that area of the beach).

Love to hear your thoughts, and your favorite spots in and around Brickell… what you enjoy about it, and what you’d like to see added to Mary Brickell Village.

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Neighborhood Events in Coral Gables – Weekend Fun!

I enjoy knowing about each and every WEEKEND event or festival scheduled in and around town. Miami is famous for fun and frolic.  Even if I’m holding open houses and can (maybe) squeeze in a single  neighborhood highlight somewhere over a given weekend, I want to know  EVERYTHING   going on in Miami

 My favorite source of  inside information is Robert Burr’s weekly blurb “Great Gables“.  mango-24 I am eyeing “Fairchild Garden’s MANGO FESTIVAL”  this weekend… which sounds idyllic.   MIAMI and MANGO just seem to fit together!   The Mango Festival:   Fairchild Botanic Tropical Garden .

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Summer Activities in Miami: Italian Cooking Show in Coral Gables at Mia Cucina !

This summer  again:  Miami welcomes residents and visitors to Coral Gables,  hosting several Italian Cooking Show EXTRAVAGANZAS at the MIA CUCINA design showroom on Coral Way…. with food and wine and laughter! range-landscape-final1 This “open-to-the-public”  gourmet food fest honors various regions in Italy, and is sponsored by local restaurants, purveyors,  talented local chefs and restaurateurs …  in conjunction with the Italy America Chamber of Commerce.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the  “Mia Cucina” Italian Cooking Show   in year’s past,  held each and every summer at their  Italian design kitchen showroom on 105 Miracle Mile.  The third of four cooking shows is coming up  July 16,2009  and space is apparently quickly filling up.  Since many of you ask to be notified of upcoming events, July is here, and the next Italian Cooking Show focuses on VENEZIA and VALLE d’AOSTA!    The Biltmore’s Fontana Restaurant competes against Tiramesu… for regional fare .   YOU sample, and YOU judge:  July 16  6:30-8:00 pm Mia Cucina Showroom  105 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, Florida.  Reserve early.

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How to find a SOLID CONDO INVESTMENT on Brickell (Casa a Miami)

BUYERS ( …  and … REALTORS)   WANT TO KNOW:   “Which condos in  Miami’s Brickell area  are SOLID ? ”    …     “Where can we buy ?”    …    “Where SHOULD we buy ?”     …      “What do you recommend ?”   

cimg0077The short answer is:  “Depends on the buyer”.   Yes, of course there is  a longer answer too.   Finding a solid investment requires staying on top of the changing inventory and being very, very diligent.  New construction is popping up left and right… the Miami skyline changing minute by minute.  Financial stability of any given building, and desirability of a particular building or area can morph, given time, and given the ever-changing mix of buyers/renters. 

Lenders have  strict criteria which can seriously impact one’s ability to obtain a mortgage.   Miami Condos are at times “ousted”  from lender’s lists of “qualified buildings”…  based on percentages of unsold units,  investor-owned units,  owners in arrears on  condo association fees,  short sales or foreclosures in specific buildings themselves.  With the newspapers and news channels  brimming with stories about the South Florida condo ‘glut’… where do you turn for direction? Which buildings do you look at ,and which do you consider?  And Why?

There ARE solid condos scattered all across South Florida, and some exquisitely beautiful opportunities in the Brickell area.  On Brickell, I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen of  the 43 floor creation designed by Architectonica: The 500 Brickell Condo building  located between 5th and 6th Streets, with it’s breathtaking  floor-to-ceiling views of the bay. And 500 Brickell is Fannie Mae approved!  The photo above is taken from the 34th floor of 500 Brickell, which we just sold to international buyers purchasing  a second home in Miami.  

Of the  633 units in  500 Brickell’s two towers (East and West):   591  sold  … and 42 are currently available for sale.  Of those 591 units sold, 252 have actually closed.   63% are owner occupied (373 units) …  and 18%   (or 107 units)  were bought as vacation or second homes.  Only 19%  (or 112 units)  were purchased for investment purposes (and rented/leased out).

Those bits of information are helpful in knowing whether a bank will or will not provide  financing… and whether you, as a buyer,  will need cash to close.

Important to know, in any condo building,  is the percentage of occupants  in arrears on their association payments.  Those percentages can seriously impact whether a new buyer can obtain financing, and  may predict even how the building will or will not  be maintained (peering off  into the future)… and ultimately whether possible assessments are on the horizon.   Without a crystal ball in hand, facts and figures go a long way in paving the road  and helping buyers with their selection process.  

Have any questions about 500 Brickell?  Contact us anytime.  You may work 8am-6pm, but we are available after you’ve left the office, and you can always contact us through our website.  You’re always welcome to explore current listings or glean information on Miami’s eclectic and charming neighborhoods at www.MiamiRealEstateCafe.comCare to know about other intriguing opportunities in the Brickell area?  We’d love to hear from you.  Please leave your comments regarding Brickell… opportunities you’d like to share… insights, thoughts, and questions.

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Best Place to Live in South Florida: City of Doral ranked among TOP 2 in the USA by CNNMoney.Com and

The BEST 100 cities  in America?  Two of them are in South Florida!

Tauted for it’s combination of  lifestyle and business opportunity Doral is ranked among the top two South Florida municipalities by CNN  Business opportunity, coupled with “quality of life”,   art, culture, top educational venues, and WORLD CLASS GOLF,  put the City of Doral on the map  (along with Fort Lauderdale) as one of  THE TOP 100 CITIES IN THE UNITED STATES IN WHICH TO LIVE, WORK AND PLAY .

doralisle-clubhouse named the City of Doral  Doral as one of the two best places to reside in the United States out of their 25 top choices for 2009!  Patents, venture capital funding, sole proprietorships, and start up companies (per capita) …  were among the criteria used by  in ranking their top 25 cities to live “well”  in.  Incorporated 6 years ago,  and transformed  literally overnight  from cow pastures and open expanses of  green spaces into a beckoning destination with a population of just over 35,000 Doral ranks #2  as the BEST PLACE TO LIVE WELL…by FORBES.COM.

Having become a veritable small business hot-spot, in a heartbeat, Doral is home to multitudes of  businesses catering to the Latin American Market.  With one of the highest per capita concentrations of small businesses, and home to logistics, aerospace, and telecommunications industries,  the City of Doral is headquarters for several major corporate entities as well.  Pepsi-Cola is a strong  South Florida economic influencer,  and Brightstar (specializing in telecommunications and wireless communications products)….  is one of the largest Hispanic-owned companies in the United States.

doral-waterfallResort-style communities  abound in Doral, offering  world class golf and amenities,  and options of single family homes, or townhomes and condos.

Doral Isles offers acres of community recreational facilities :  lagoon pools with cascading waterfalls, soccer fields, baseball, basketball, kayaking, sandy beaches, docks, full-service fitness centers, open air cafes and outdoor dining. Here is a beautiful two story, 3 bedroom, 3 bath townhome for sale in the community. Considering living in Doral?   Call us!

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cimg0865Located in the heart of the Village of Pinecrest, this South Florida model of environmental Green Living feels something akin to living in a National Park!  Beyond bucolic, Smathers Four Fillies Farm is a rare community offering a unique concept, and an even rarer opportunity to live in a sustainably eco-friendly environment!   The link to an article in e-Veritas is below:

Smathers Four Fillies Farm  is among the three finalists for this year’s Urban Land Institute’s top awards recognizing sustainable developments and GREEN living Lowering home operating costs by $1,000.00 a year,   Four Fillies far and away exceeds Florida Energy Efficiency Code standards… by  20 to 30 percent… and offers a unique quality of life. cimg08911

ULI’s  GREEN AWARD recognizes projects that offer sustainable values,  have  minimal environmental impact,  improve quality of life, comfort, and health… and incorporate regenerative site development strategies, energy and water conservation, use of sustainable or renewable materials, and improved  air quality.

As one the “Florida Green Building Coalition” (FGBC) certified developments, Four Fillies includes abundant  healthy insulation, special air filtration, energy star appliances,  and continuous water conservation (through landscaping choices and choices of appliances and fixtures).  Impact glass aids in energy conservation,  facilitates hurricane preparation and adds an intrinsic safety feature. Paints have low levels of volatile organic compounds. Interior wall studs are steel. The homes are termite and mold-resistant.

Dual concentric horseshoes consisting of  30 homes on a portion of 32 acres of lush tropical foliage, were created in and around existing plant life, mature trees, and tropical foliage… minimizing impact on the natural fauna,  hammocks and spectacular surrounding grounds maintained and protected by Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens.

The  32 acre property, donated to the UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI  16 years ago, was a gift from long-time philanthropist and UM trustee Frank Smathers.  31 homes will grace the grounds including a residence that will be home to the President of the University of Miami.  21 acres will remain pristine … (apart from the natural hammocks, which are stunningly wild and utterly beautiful!) and preserve the history of the original Smathers stables, as seen here to the right. cimg07171

 A brilliant concept, with ingenious architectural finess and design, Four Fillies offers residents a unique opportunity to live and be a part of this eco-friendly community built by Breakstone, under the wing of MAMCO ‘s (Miami Asset Management Company)  Michael Katz and Patrick Burbank…  with  environmentally friendly urban design concepts from Donna Shalala , and backing and support from Evelyn Greer.

Only a handful of homes remain available in Four Fillies for purchase. Deed restrictions apply, as the property is affiliated with the University of Miami. Professors (adjunct, part-time, volunteer), deans, in addition to medical, research and recruits qualify under the deed restricted status.  Pricing ranges from $1.1  to $1.4  (11411 Smathers Circle and 11414 Smathers Circle) , and the gated communityis located is between Red Road and Old Cutler: with the entrance to Four Fillies on 11511 Red Road, Pinecrest, Florida.  For further information, call Vicki Restivo at 305 793 1365 or Alexandra Restivo at 305 632 0164.

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Pinecrest Homes for Sale: OPEN HOUSE – Four Fillies Farm – Be Part of the UNIVERSITY of MIAMI COMMUNITY

cimg0868A  private 32 acre University of Miami gated community will be open to the public this Sunday, May 17th,   from 2:30pm  until 5:00pm.  Nestled on grounds maintained by Fairchild Botanic Tropical Gardens  in the heart of Pinecrest, you are surrounded by natural hammocks, mango trees in full bloom, walking trails, and lush open spaces… in FOUR FILLIES 

 These 30  newly built homes (by Breakstone) offer phenomenal GREEN FEATURES to maximize quality of life, and minimize maintenance and costs.  Most are SOLD OUT. 

The community itself is deed restricted to approved University of Miami Faculty ( full-time, adjunct, medical research, and recruits), and it does offer a guaranteed buy-back program. cimg08731

If you are affiliated with the University of Miami,  the SAM PROGRAM applies to a number of the  homes  in Four Fillies.  If you are not affiliated with the University, this might be incentive to do so.  Ever considered  becoming a part-time lecturing professor? 

 There are only a handful of  HOMES FOR SALE within Four Fillies Farm.

 Come by the OPEN  HOUSE on SUNDAY MAY 17th from 2:30pm to 5:00pm.  It’s an opportunity to preview two special  Four Fillies homes, the grounds, pool area, tennis court, and get a sense of the community. 

OPEN THIS SUNDAY, May 17, 2009   are:

11414 Smathers Circle (a two story/5 bedroom for $1,400,000)   and 11411 Smathers Circle  (one-story /3 bedroom for $1,100,000). 

Please feel free to drop by! Entrance to the University of Miami’s Four Fillies property is on Red Road (SW 57th Avenue) at SW 111th Street (just south of Pinecrest Gardens). The community is situated between Red Road and Old Cutler Road.

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Miami Homes For Sale – Open House: 14810 SW 97 Ave, Miami Florida

dsc_0296Come preview this OPEN HOUSE, and feel as though you are living in paradise.  This lovely, fully updated, four bedroom home  in the Falls Area will be open for viewing this  Sunday, May 17th  (NOON – 2PM).  14810 SW 97th Avenue has all the bells and whistles, and is set amid tranquil surroundings,  on a cul-de-sac… you have a  heated pool with a waterfall, a sprawling, lush green tree-canopied backyard that feels like your own private park… with beautiful landscaping and outdoor lighting…a huge covered patio for entertaining, complete with a built-in bar, and sturdy treehouse.  Inside are a beautiful kitchen with natural light from the skylight, ample sized bedrooms,  closets galore, solid hardwood floors,  travertine, and spa-like baths. Listed for $572,000,  you may  fall head over heels.  Ready to move? Please come and take a look !

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Miami Homes for sale: Smathers Four Fillies-Exclusive University of Miami Gated Community: 11411 Smathers Cr. Pinecrest; Miami Real Estate

Four Fillies signThis University of Miami Luxury Enclave is built on the 32-acre Smathers Estate, located between Red Road and Old Cutler. This exclusive Gated Community is made up of 30 Private Villas built by Breakstone and 21-acres of surrounding grounds.

The Private Community contains walking trails, a swimming pool & hot tub, a tennis court, a workout room and a clubhouse complete with a kitchen. The grounds are stunning, featuring rare plant life, extensive fruit groves and natural hammocks, all maintained by Fairchild Tropical Gardens. Four Fillies is Green Certified and anticipated to perform 20-30% better on average than the Florida Energy Code, representing significant savings.

Donated to the University of Miami fifteen years ago by philanthropist and longtime trustee Frank Smathers Jr, Four Fillies is located on Red Road, just minutes away from the Coral Gables Campus. Also nearby are three Metro Rail Stations with access to the Miller School of Medicine Campus. Nestled in the Village of Pinecrest, Four Fillies lies within the Pinecrest School District which boasts Pinecrest Elementary and Palmetto Senior High. These schools consistently rank among the top public schools in the state. Just a short drive away are also some Miami’s best private schools.

11411 Smathers CrThis three bedroom / two and a half bath home is a one story gem and features every upgrade imaginable. From beautiful bamboo and travertine floors to retractable screens on French doors and patio, the home has been finished with a designer’s touch. Soaring Ceilings and Grand windows. Tranquil views from every room. The kitchen features double ovens and opens to the Family Room / Breakfast area. The home offers a wood burning fireplace, a media system and a generator. Click here to see a brochure.

Four Fillies is exclusive to qualified faculty members, affiliates and recruits.It is Deed restricted to UM Faculty (adjunct / full-time / volunteer).There is a guaranteed buy back from the University of Miami after nine months. Eligible faculty may benefit from the SAM program at Four Fillies.

The Community is located at 11511 Red Road. This particular home is one story, the first model to sell out and the only one available now, and is located at 11411 Smathers Cr in Four Fillies. 2,531 sq ft of living area and 3,362 sq ft under roof. Click here to see a floor plan.

For further information on this home, others in Four Fillies or any of your real estate needs, contact Alexandra or Vicki.

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