Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Coconut Grove’s Ritz Carlton: Sophisticated Living

Built in 2001, the splendid one, two and three bedroom condominium and penthouse homes at the two-tower Ritz Carlton in Coconut Grove is enough to make owners of Coconut Grove real estate stand up and take notice. Located in the center of Coconut Grove and set on four acres of verdant gardens, these grand residences range in size from 896 square feet to 4,448 square feet and represent a new and exciting lifestyle for the dynamic, opulent population of South Florida. 

There are a total of 215 residences situated in twenty-two stories of the building and they offer -to those who can afford the price tag- a variety of homes ranging from $410,000 to $3,600,000. The high-class establishment offers a pet-friendly atmosphere and an array of views that vary from cityscapes to inviting, sparkling panoramas of Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. 

The interiors of these residences are just as impressive as those found in the finest examples of Coconut Grove real estate. Marble baths and granite kitchens are adorned with state-of-the-art appliances and splendid, ultra-sleek Poggenpohl cabinetry. Amenities include: the most up to date Internet connections and packages, room service, a complete exercise and fitness center, swimming pool, beauty salon, concierge and optimum security via controlled building access.

Known by those who own Coconut Grove real estate as a boutique condo, the Ritz Carlton is the quintessence of luxury living. From the grandiose lobby with its high ceilings and lush, fragrant flora to its spacious residences with stylish flourishes, these condos are a fine investment with a grand old name synonymous with quality that stands proudly behind them. 

Other features of the Ritz Carlton include the Bizcaya restaurant and its award-winning chef, Khaled Ibrahim, which offers delectable yet simple Mediterranean-style cuisine along with the Fontana Lounge which overlooks a waterfall, live music every weekend and a glorious 6,000 square foot boutique spa to pamper those so inclined. Guests and residents alike will enjoy the “green” aspect of life so dutifully promoted at the Ritz Carlton.

If you dare to get adventurous, the location of the Ritz Carlton Hotel is in proximity of urban life pulse. Retail shops, fine dining and the top entertainment venues of Coconut Grove lay virtually at your feet.

Ritz Carlton prices range by square feet as would be expected. One bedrooms start at $420,000, two bedrooms from $445,000 and three bedrooms from $1,100,000. Rentals begin at $2,600 and go up to $6,800 per month.

 Coconut Grove’s Ritz Carlton. You’ll never settle for less again.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Second Annual Coral Gables Bike Day

There was so much to do for both visitors to City Beautiful and owners of Coral Gables real estate at the second annual Gables Bike Day which ocurred Sunday, October 28th. Sponsored by Miracle Mile and downtown Coral Gables, Bike Day 2012 marked the celebration of all healthy activities and the promotion of “green” means of transportation.

Bike Walk Coral Gables is the non-profit organization that sponsored this special day. All those who participated know that any proceeds gleaned from this event as well as the bicycle tours which are affiliated with the Coral Gables Museum and take place all year round, will go to projects that promote safe biking and walking within the city limits.

One feature of Gables Bike Day that was brought back by popular demand is the Coral Gables Tours, which took place approximately every hour beginning at 11 am and going until 3 pm. These bike tours began in the downtown area and featured well-informed guides. For those who were interested, it was recommended to sign up early for these tours as there were limits as to how many people participated at one time.

To facilitate the celebration, which began at 10 am and lasted until 4 pm, the eastbound lanes of Miracle Mile and Ponce De Leon north of the area were closed. A myriad of diverse events in Coral Gables brought joy to the day including: bike tours of of the area, kids’ activities, skate park demonstrations, roller derby, yoga, karate, live bands, bike polo, live music, food and to top it off, a Halloween costume contest.

For this contest, participants dressed up more than themselves. They dressed up their bikes as well. After all, they want to get in on the fun too. This competition was judged on how well the rider incorporated his or her outfit incorporates with their bike bicycle. Creative to say the very least, this new and different costume party entertained both visitors to the special event and residents who own Coral Gables real estate.

Excited and encouraged by last year’s turnout, which amounted to almost 4,000 participants, activities at Gables Bike Day were designed to appeal to all family members of all ages. Coral Gables Mayor Jim Cason, Commissioner Ralph Cabrera, Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Simone Filippini and Executive Director of the Business Improvement District Mari Gallet were all there for the kick off ceremony slated for 10:30 am at the Fred B. Harnett Ponce Circle Park.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

55 Merrick: Style Meets Function

Elegant and modern are the two operative adjectives for 55 Merrick, a classic example of Coral Gables real estate. Its vision is grandiose, embracing condos, retail space, office buildings and even some corporate headquarters. There are eight floors and a total of 167 two and three bedroom residences, featuring the most lavish of interior flourishes. More than twenty different floor plans offering a variety of spectacular city views are available that include penthouses and town homes.

Created in 2007 by Dayco, a multi-national real estate development firm dedicated to high standard, large-scale industrial and civil projects, the interiors at 55 Merrick are spectacular. Most residences have ceilings that are 9 feet high. Those on the penthouse level are 10 feet and the town homes boast 20 feet. General amenities include but are not limited to: a temperature-controlled pool, fitness center, 24-hour valet service, concierge, two-story clubhouse and maximum security.

The luxury condominiums at 55 Merrick range in size from 848 square feet to over 1800 square feet. The kitchens, baths, living and dining areas are all lavishly adorned with imported Italian tile flooring and the bedrooms all feature wall-to-wall Berber carpeting. As is the case with most Coral Gables real estate, the words spacious, gracious and luxurious all apply.

Lavish living has left its mark in this structure, ranging from the state-of-the-art kitchens with their custom-crafted cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and granite tabletops to the private terraces and balconies that provide spectacular city views.

Those who own Coral Gables real estate appreciate the newest landmark to the area known affectionately as City Beautiful. This tiny and alluring enclave of the world is a dream come true for residents, offering shopping and fine dining within an arm’s reach along Miracle Mile. Minutes away from Miami International Airport, the University of Miami and the downtown area, 55 Merrick reflects both a classic and contemporary vision and lifestyle for those lucky enough to live there.

Condos at 55 Merrick range in price averaging about $280,000 for a one bedroom, 1 and ½ baths and 55 Merrick rentals start at about $1,750 for one bedroom/ one bath. For exclusive and luxurious condo living, you can’t fare better than 55 Merrick.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Grove Isle Properties: Luxurious Waterfront Living

A secluded retreat that is just minutes from downtown Miami Beach, Grove Isle represents Old World charm and elegance at its best. It is a short drive from the bustling “American Riviera” and yet it is also a world separate and apart. Grove Isle is near so many popular tourist attractions that include a myriad of interests such as fine dining, shopping, professional sports nightclubs and a fascinating art deco district. All of these can keep an owner of Coral Gables real estate or a first-time visitor to Grove Isle busy for many pleasant hours.

Grove Isle is a gated, waterfront retreat situated on resplendent Biscayne Bay. The creation of Martin Z. Marguiles, self-made millionaire, art collector and real estate developer, this self contained luxury housing complex is comprised of three distinct buildings and one resort hotel and spa set like a precious jewel in the midst of a lush tropical garden. Each structure has its own identity and unique flair that stands out as a neighborhood landmark against the South Florida landscape.  

Those who know Coral Gables real estate are aware that Marguiles has been involved in high-end condominium construction for more than thirty years. His extensive experience and keen and highly critical eye for detail shows not only with his crowning glory of Grove Isle, but also in his other residences which include: Bellini Bal Harbour, Grand Bay Towers Key Biscayne & The Kenilworth House, which has the distinction of being the first luxury development in Bal Harbour.

The Grove Island condos include 510 units on 18 floors which were built on an island of 20 acres between 1979 and 1981, just minutes away from the maddening bustle of urban life. Amenities include: a hotel and yacht club, marina facilities, state-of-the-art tennis courts, a gourmet restaurant and for joggers and cyclists, a lush path that encompasses the island. 

Grove Isle condominiums have been constructed using the highest possible standards. Luxury exudes from every corner from the elegant marble lobby floors, to the breathtaking choice of views from private terraces (ocean, bay or Miami skyline) to the 24-hour valet parking for residents and their guests. 

Grove Isle properties range from $649,000 to $2,295 million and Grove Isle rentals average about $5,500 monthly.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tahiti Beach: Luxurious Coral Gables Properties

An alluring, secluded paradise whose very name conjures images of tropical splendor, Tahiti Beach is a restricted enclave offering more than twenty splendid homes for sale that range in price from $2 million to $12 million. Located within the Cocoplum community, this prime collection of Coral Gables real estate overlooks sparkling Biscayne Bay, pristine beaches and features a natural reserve for nature lovers and a private park open to all of its residents.

Tahiti Beach is a breathtaking bay-front locale where only the very wealthy and privileged can embrace its many charms. The homes here measure more than 40,000 square feet and feature 4 bedrooms, three marble bathrooms, high ceilings, private boat docks, lavish interiors and dazzling heated pools. A superlative school system distinguishes the area and includes Coral Gables Preparatory Academy, the University of Miami and Northwestern University.

Each home in Tahiti Beach is unlike any other, beautifully designed for harbor living. Although they reflect diverse styles of architecture and several multi-room floor-plans, they still manage to blend into one unified design that seems to connect them. This community which is considered one of the most affluent in the Miami-Dade area, offers the best waterfront lots on Biscayne Bay, which are often more than 25,000 square feet.

Astute buyers of Coral Gables real estate can choose from homes that are situated either on or very near the water. Some consider Tahiti Beach to be a part of the Cocoplum neighborhood while others call it more of an exclusive “community within a community.” All agree however, that Tahiti Beach is the only private gated island in the area and that it is guarded 24 hours a day every day of the week.

Perhaps one of the more subtle selling points about Tahiti Beach is intangible and has nothing to do with its many “hands on” generous amenities. Residents here feel they are “far away from the maddening crowd” and all the hustle of urban life, and yet in reality they are only ten to fifteen minutes away from downtown Miami, which offers some of the finest restaurants, shops and entertainment venues throughout the state of Florida.

In addition to the private paradise of Tahiti Beach, residents are also situated very near some stunning local attractions. The lush and beautiful Fairchild Tropical Gardens, Dadeland Mall and gardens of Vizcaya all lay at the feet of those fortunate enough to be able to live in the splendor and glorious seclusion of Tahiti Beach.

Come to Tahiti Beach. Come to paradise.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Street Resurfacing in Coral Gables: Residents’ Delight

For many years, residents and owners of Coral Gables real estate have begged the powers-that-be to resurface the roads of their “City Beautiful.” Up until recently, their requests have been largely ignored, but now, propelled by the Neighborhood Renaissance Program (NRP), 30 lane miles of streets throughout the city have been targeted for repaving.

City Manager Patrick Salerno’s plan is to borrow $22 million for 17 separate projects that would come from a debt restructuring that Vice Mayor Bill Kerdyk Jr. compared to refinancing one’s home. The project is twofold; Phase one which is well under way, concerns the cracked and deteriorating streets north of US1, while Phase two, which is slated to start soon, refers to the streets south of US1 and those in the downtown area that need repair.

This street resurfacing initiative is making locals very happy. Mayor Jim Cason follows the progress of this ambitious project daily. This program is propelled by the need to make neighborhoods as livable as they can possibly be. Normally, the list of streets to be resurfaced is equivalent to what would be paved over the course of about a decade. Addressing owners of Coral Gables real estate, Mayor Cason said, “This initiative will not only improve neighborhoods, it should also enhance property values… We’re on the road to building a better Coral Gables.”

The City Commission of Coral Gables engaged the engineering firm of C3TS to “bring together the elements of architecture and civil, roadway, structural, traffic, and transportation engineering” to evaluate and review all the streets. They have compiled a map indicating the streets that will be repaved and promised to both observe the conditions of the streets as they arise and to take care of re-pavements within a year after the request is made.

For owners of Coral Gables real estate who traverse these roads, this truly is a dream come true and all are encouraged to notify the public works department to have their streets evaluated for repaving when phase two is about to begin. All that’s required is an email to PWdepartment@coralgables.com.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dining in Coral Gables, Florida: A Gourmand’s Paradise

For both visitors to the area and locals who own Coral Gables real estate, Coral Gables’ more than 220 restaurants reflect its status as a dining epicenter. It also explains the surge of almost twenty new restaurants offering the gamut fare from casual to chic dining that have opened over the course of the last few months.

For those who might ask, won’t they be swallowed up by those restaurants already established, the answer is no. The reason is because when an area is known for something specific (such as in this case, restaurants) it draws those interested in fine dining to the area. Therefore, another restaurant becomes an additional culinary adventure rather than a competitor. 

According to business leaders and Mark Trowbridge, president and CEO of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce: “It is my sincere belief that the high number of quality restaurants that people have known and loved for years in the Gables provides the perfect motivation for new concepts and ventures to open here,” What better way to launch a new restaurant business than in an environment that already attracts foodies and educated diners in significant numbers?”

National restaurant chains are also attracted to the dynamic and flourishing Coral Gables dining scene and have left their mark there. Shake Shack, Brick Top and Energy Kitchen, a healthy lifestyle promoter are all involved with being integral to this trendy lifestyle complex. 

Both visitors to the area and local residents who own Coral Gables real estate will agree that no matter which cuisine you prefer, you will find something like it in the Coral Gables dining scene. This includes but is not limited to: Italian, Thai, Cuban, Brazilian, Chinese, or plain old American steak! 

A few of the many memorable dining establishments include:

  • Café Abbracci is a bit pricey but truly a chic dining experience. It offers excellent food and ambience and a chance to view celebrities who often dine here. 
  • Café Vialetto offers an unusual mélange of Latin American and Italian cuisine and is known for its exotic dishes. 
  • Pascals’ On Ponce is a small and often crowded restaurant offering the best French food in Southern Florida if you can manage to nab a table.
  • Havana Harry's offerings are just as advertised; that is, inexpensive, good Cuban food. Many Cuban-Americans dine here revealing the authenticity of its cuisine. The palomilla steak is a favorite as well as side dishes of rice, beans and plantains.
  • Ruth's Chris is an upscale chain of classic American steakhouses. The filet mignon is out of this world as well as the banana cream pie.

Come and dine in Coral Gables for a truly satisfying culinary experience.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Cocowalk: A Lifestyle Center To Remember

Located in the epicenter of the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, this chic, open-air, Tuscan-style lifestyle center is the first of its kind in the state of Florida. It is situated precisely at the intersection of Grand Avenue, McFarlane Road and Main Highway. Opened to the public in November of 1990, ambiance is the operative word defining Cocowalk where shopping, casual dining and all types of cultural exchange from art galleries to live music to theaters come together in one location.

Cocowalk has four distinct levels, offering more than 30 stores and services and a spectacular open courtyard of approximately 200,000 square feet of gross leasable area (GLA). Both tourists and locals who own Coral Gables real estate appreciate and regularly use the attached, 24-hour-security-insured and very well-lit 840-space parking garage. This facilitates the flow of activity as every Thursday through Sunday, visitors and tour groups to Cocowalk mingle to enjoy live music.

Residents and owners of Coral Gables real estate as well as a steady flow of tourists help to make Cocowalk one of the top five most popular tourists destinations in Greater Miami. In 2006, Cocowalk experienced a total renewal aided by PMAT Real Estate Investments’ with more than $10 million in capital improvements. Today, the center is home to favorite national brands that include but are not limited to: Victoria’s Secret, The Cheesecake Factory, Starbucks, GAP and White House/Black Market clothing shops. 

At one time, there was only one theater in Cocowalk, but since 2010  the Paragon Grove 13 Movie Theater (featuring 13 screens) have entered the picture (forgive the pun) and its Backlot Wine Bar and Lounge in the lobby offers patrons who are visitors or those who own Coral Gables real estate a chance for a quick bite or drink before or after the movie.

Cocowalk is a glorious, colorful one-stop experience in shopping, dining and charismatic entertainment. The area attracts new businesses and others that make Cocowalk a spectacular presence that is well-deserving of the moniker: Grand Dame of Coconut Grove.  There is nothing like Cocowalk anywhere in South Florida.

Whether visitors walk or are transported by car, bike or boat to Cocowalk, its easy access greatly contributes to its popularity both among outsiders and locals alike. All age groups are attracted to CocoWalk’s cool, causal yet upscale setting. 

CocoWalk hosts a number of special high traffic events, such as the 4th of July, Mother’s & Father’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Halloween, Kids’ Days, Food Fairs, and a Santa Visit. For more information on Cocowalk, visit the website and make sure you make time at some point in your busy life to come to Cocowalk and stay a while. Many a visitor has been transformed into a local resident by doing that very same thing. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden: Tropical Splendor

Dating back to 1938 and designed by William Lyman Phillips, the 83-acre Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is an aesthetic feast for the eyes with its dazzling displays of color and form. The garden was originally established in 1936 by a wealthy accountant and businessman named Robert Montgomery who had a passion for collecting plants. When the garden opened two years later, he named it after his good friend, David Fairchild who brought many important plants to the United States, including mangos, alfalfa, nectarines, dates, horseradish, bamboos and flowering cherries. 

Located just south of Coral Gables, this incredible garden attracts both tourists and local owners of Coral Gables real estate, blending science and art into an educational resource of cultivated and wild plants. This dazzling and outstanding collection of taxonomically-arranged and well-documented tropical plants is internationally renowned and provides an important contribution to education, research and conservation.

The collection features palms, cycads, flowering trees, shrubs, vines and fruit trees. Although many of the plants are critically endangered and therefore cultivated on the grounds, there are also many that have been collected from the wild. It is the vast bio-diversity of this amazing collection that has made the garden a resource of world significance. Its extensive staff of 45,000 members and over 1,200 volunteers contribute to preserving it on a daily basis. 

The extensive compilation of rare tropical plants functions as a museum, laboratory, educational center and conservation research facility. 

For all those who visit or are fortunate enough to own Coral Gables real estate and know the area intimately, the garden offers some special events that focus on its unique collections. These include: the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden International Mango Festival held every July, the William F. Whitman Tropical Fruit Pavilion, the very popular annual Members' Day Plant Sale in October and the newest exhibit, the Jewels of the Caribbean.

The garden also offers the Fairchild Wish List, a unique tool for donations in which you can donate a portion of the cost or donate the actual item needed for the Living Collections and Garden Landscapes Department. There is also a plant hotline, the first of its kind, offering free plant information to the public. Check the website for contact information.

 Whether you live nearby or travel from afar, don’t miss a visit to the spectacular, one-of-a-kind Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

Copyright 2012 Gables Riches. All rights reserved. 1800 SW 1st Avenue. Suite 504. Miami, FL. 33129. Tel (786) 344-4669. Fax (786) 533-3921 info@gablesriches.com