Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fun Things to Do in Coral Gables

Coral Gables is a city just south of Miami with a tropical feel in a very upscale atmosphere.  With so many things to do in Coral Gables, we thought we would feature our favorite places to go and see in our “city beautiful.”

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.  For locals and visitors alike, Fairchild is an enchanting place to visit.  There is so much to see from fragrant tropical plants and flowers to the world’s largest collection of palms, this is the perfect place to spend a relaxing day exploring the gardens, science village and special events.  The Science Village features an interactive exhibition that showcases nature at its most elaborate with over 3,000 butterflies and more in which visitors of all ages can participate.  It captivates and mesmerizes everyone who steps into this venue of exploration.  In addition to offering some of the most beautiful flowers, trees and plants, the garden is a catalyst for education and conservation.  We love the annual events like the Mango Festival in July and the Bird and Edible Garden Festivals in October.  For kids, the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden offers Free Days at Fairchild every first Wednesday, June through November – no better way to keep kids thinking and learning through the summer!

Matheson Hammock Park.  For anyone who wants to be at the beach very quickly, Matheson Hammock Park is the perfect place.  As the first county park in Miami, this 630-acre park showcases a man-made atoll with palm trees all around the area.  This is great for families who want to let their kids safely play in the water and enjoy a day at the beach.  With a snack bar, restaurant and picnic areas, it really makes for a perfect day in the Florida sunshine.  Kite boarders love launching at Matheson because of the calm waters and active breezes.  On top of all of this, there is a full-service marina that accommodates vessels up to 50 feet.  After spending one day there, everyone will see why we love Matheson so much.

Venetian Pool.  The Venetian Pool is just simply cool.  One of our clients calls it a “chunk of paradise” and that is it in a nutshell.  Made from a coral rock quarry in 1924 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, people from all over the area come to spend the day at this magical wonder.  We always suggest it to clients as a “must see.”  The interesting thing is that it is the largest fresh water pool in the United States where the water is displaced every day from artesian wells – over 800K gallons EVERY DAY! 

Family Day on Aragon.  The second Saturday of each month between 11am and 4pm, Coral Gables Museum, Coral Gables Art Cinema and Books and Books join forces to offer a family friendly day of cultural activities.  It includes story-telling, music movies in an air-conditioned theatre (after all, this is South Florida) and so much more -- even pilates!  We love going to each place by itself but, as a group effort, they really hit the nail on the head as a wonderful Gables event.  For families, this is a very inexpensive day where everything is free or extremely discounted.  Kids love the movies and stories and parents love to meander through the museum. 


Miami Science Museum.  For now, it is a Coral Gables landmark…until the completion of the Frost Museum of Science in Brickell.  Located just across from Vizcaya, there is so much to see and do at the Miami Science Museum.  Current exhibits showcase moving things, hurricanes, Miami climate and more.  Other fascinating things to see are the planetarium, an energy tracker, Florida birds and other exhibits.  Kids can participate in summer camps and other summer fun.  We always recommend this place to clients because it is enthralling to see everything.  To take it one step further, the new museum set to be completed in 2015 offers a virtual tour on the website so that anyone can watch the progress of the new construction.

Much More to See and Do

With so much more to see and do, these are five of our favorite things to do in Coral Gables.  Surrounded by phenomenal Coral Gables real estate, residents are so fortunate to have these outstanding venues at their doorsteps.  No wonder everyone loves Coral Gables!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Top Quality Education in Coral Gables Schools

With the top ranked University of Miami located in Coral Gables, it is no wonder there is such an emphasis on the education systems in the “City Beautiful.”  One of the advantages of living in Coral Gables is the top quality education in area schools – public and private.  Students receive the highest level of learning and continue on to college and beyond.  Within the Miami-Dade School system, Coral Gables has some of the most esteemed schools as well as in the state and receives the highest ratings from state and national organizations.  Because of this, many people choose to live in Coral Gables.

Private Schools
Private schools in Coral Gables are among the best in the country offering extensive international programs and advanced studies.  While several private schools like St. Philip Episcopal School and St. Theresa Catholic School have religious affiliations, there are others such as the Riviera Day School and the French American Schoolof Miami that are considered nonsectarian.  With smaller class sizes and such a focus on academic excellence, tuition plays a huge role in the decision to place children in one of the private Coral Gables schools.  

Annual tuition associated with private schools range from about $10,000 to over $25,000 with other fees added to these amounts.  High tuition is a primary reason that many of them are situated close to upscale Coral Gables neighborhoods like Journey’s End, Gables by the Sea, Snapper Creek Lakes and more.  These neighborhoods feature Coral Gables real estate with home values topping $10 million. 

Public Schools
While Coral Gables features some of the most exclusive real estate in all of Miami Dade County, it is a city where the upper-crust and middle-class co-exist in harmony.  Many of the schools mirror the ethnic and international atmosphere that exists here.

Since there are many Coral Gables home owners who cannot (and will not) pay the tuition associated with a private school education, the public schools work hard to provide a top quality education for its children.  In fact, Coral Gables public schools are among the most renowned schools in Miami Dade and the entire state of Florida.  The highest ranked schools like George Washington Carver Middle School and Coral Gables Preparatory Academy accommodate elementary and middle school grades and receive district, state and national honors as both have the recognition of being National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence.  George Washing Carver Middle School is also ranked as the #1 traditional middle school in the State of Florida.  High schools continue this merit pushing students to excel in their studies in order to continue their education.  Whether attending Coral Gables Senior High or the International Studies Preparatory Academy, the standard of excellence associated with our schools is very prevalent.

Top Florida Schools

No matter the approach to children’s education in Coral Gables, it is a city with filled with top rated Florida schools which creates a need for many families to relocate here.  Coral Gables real estate reflects the impact that this demand for a top quality public or private education.  Whether opting for a home in one of the gated communities or a lovely home in one of the close-knit neighborhoods in the center of the city, one thing is for sure -- a top quality school is within a short walk or ride.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Grove Isle Condominium -- Coconut Grove

Grove Isle is a tropical oasis situated just off the northern end of Coconut Grove on a 20-acre island that juts out into Biscayne Bay.  With 24-hour manned, gated security, this secluded piece of paradise is the epitome of Old Florida.  As a self-contained island, Grove Isle features a resort, restaurant and more in order to create quiet retreat from all of the activity in Miami.  This is definitely a very well sought after address in terms of Coconut Grove real estate.

Built between 1979 and 1981, Grove Isle Condominiums includes three 18-story buildings with a total of 510 residences in all three buildings.  The three buildings house residences of different sizes: Tower One features two, three, and four-bedroom units that range between 2,614 square feet and 5,012 square feet; Tower Two houses two and three-bedroom units that are 1,642 square feet to 2,424 square feet; and, Tower Three has the most variety with one to six-bedroom residences ranging from 1,404 square feet to 5,812 square feet.

Grove Isle Location
A short distance out into the Bay from Coconut Grove, Grove Isles Condominiums is perfectly situated to be the focal point on the man-made island.  This idyllic condominium is located just minutes from historic Coconut Grove and Dinner Key Marina as well as Cocowalk and the Magnificent Mile.  Brickell, the Design District and the beaches are only about 15 minutes away allowing residents to frequent these areas while still escaping to a tropical paradise.

Grove Isle Amenities
Grove Isles Condominiums offer the utmost in quality extras when it comes to amenities.  When it comes to community amenities, first and foremost, there is manned gated security at the entrance to each building.  From there, there is 24 Hour Valet Parking; a state of the art fitness center; Spa Terre; a heating outdoor pool overlooking the Bay; an 85-slip marina for boat and yacht owners; a tropically-landscaped jogging path; a US Open Hard Court tennis court and 11 Har-Tru clay courts; dry cleaning and baby service; and, more. 

Inside each residence, because the buildings are up to 15 years old, many have been updated and remodeled to give them a modern look.  It is not uncommon to see more individuality in the design, updated gourmet kitchens with high-end appliances, upscale fixtures and finishes including marble floors, sleek lighting fixtures, and so much more.  A common design element throughout every home is the floor to ceiling windows that showcase the amazing views of the Bay, city and even out into the Atlantic Ocean creating a huge “WOW” factor every time you enter each room.

Grove Isle Real Estate
Grove Isle real estate is always in demand.  Where most buildings have about 5-10 percent of the residences for sale, Grove Isle has only a mere one percent on the market.  List prices fall between about $600K and over $1.2 million. 

So far, this year, 11 properties have sold with an average sale price of about $650K.  Most of the properties were listed between the mid-$400s and mid-$700s with only two properties listed over $1 million. 

With Coconut Grove rentals, Grove Isle properties come on the market every so often and are available on an annual basis.  Currently there are two-bedroom properties available with rental rates falling between $3,400 and $3,800 per month. 

Old Florida Style with a Modern Twist
Grove Isle Condos offers old Florida style with a modern twist for Coconut Grove real estate.  Each residence has its own flair and character to appease the tastes and desires of Coconut Grove condominium buyers.  This is a wonderful place to call home and probably never leave.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Most Affordable Coral Gables Rentals

Coral Gables is one of the best cities in Miami-Dade County.  With some of the most affluent shopping, dining, and arts and entertainment, it is very easy to see the appeal of this “city beautiful.”  While many residents seek to own property in Coral Gables, others are happy with renting single family homes and condominium residences in close-knit neighborhoods.  Following are the most affordable Coral Gables rentals:

2003 Red Road, Coral Gables, Rental Rate:  $2,700
This is a charming and classic Florida bungalow in a wonderful part of Coral Gables.  With lots of space under 1,967 square feet, there are lots of fixtures and finishes to make this a perfect home.  It has a nice center courtyard surrounded by the home and a wonderful shaded backyard as well as lots of closet space and a nice sized kitchen with a center cut out with counter top that goes to the den and out into the backyard making cooking out a breeze.   Centrally located in Coral Gables, this home is within a 15 minute drive of Miami International Airport, CocoWalk, the Miracle Mile and some of the top area golf courses.  At $1.37 per square foot, this home is perfect for everyone from families to retired couples. 

2350 SW 24th Street, Silver Bluff, Rental Rate:  $2,250
Enjoy this charming two-bedroom/two-bath home in sought after Silver Bluff.  Silver Bluff is centrally located within a mile or two of CocoWalk, the Miracle Mile and Dinner Key as well as only about 15 minutes from Miami International Airport and South Beach.  The fixtures and finishes include an updated kitchen, beautiful hardwood floors, hurricane shutters and a beamed ceiling in the Florida room.  This rental comes fully equipped with appliances including a stackable washer and dryer. A new roof and A/C system make this a great annual rental for the monthly investment with a price per square foot at only $1.40.

215 SW 42nd Avenue, #807, Plaza Condo, Rental Rate:  $1,700
Le Jeune Plaza Condominium is a highly sought after property rarely having an available rental.  It conveniently located to the Miami beaches and Miami International Airport as well as walking distance to the Miracle Mile and Merry Park Shops, restaurants and more.  With ceramic flooring, a wonderful balcony with views of the Bay, city and more, the two-bedroom, two-bath condominium unit features a nice size kitchen with plenty of counter space and fully equipped with appliances.   At a monthly rate of $1,700, this annual Coral Gables rental has a $1.43 price per square foot.

1545 Cantoria Avenue, Coral Gables Country Club, Monthly Rate:  $5,000
This beautiful contemporary styled home in Coral Gables Country Club is the epitome of a classic Florida home with tons of space and six bedrooms, five bedrooms under almost 3,500 square feet.  It features a gated front courtyard, screened-in pool in the backyard and so much more.  The kitchen is large with tons of counter space and the rooms are open and spacious and have unique characteristics.   Coral Gables Country Club neighborhood is just a couple of blocks from the historic Biltmore Hotel and Golf Course as well as about 15 minutes from Miami International Airport, Brickell and the beaches.  Centrally located in Coral Gables, CocoWalk and the Miracle Mile are only five minutes away.  While the monthly rent is more when compared to other Coral Gables rentals, it is a much better value with a $1.44 price per square foot.  This is a great home in a great neighborhood.

3401 Road, 1st Floor, #2, Coconut Grove, Monthly Rental:  $2,200
Located in Southeast Gables, this classic unit in a multi-family property has tile floors, a large patio, tons of unique characteristics and more.  It is fully equipped with appliances and in very good condition.  Its location is ideal as it is very close to some of the area’s best golf courses, the Miracle Mile, CocoWalk, and Dinner Key no to mention being within about a 15-minute drive to Miami International Airport, the beaches and Brickell. With 1,528 square feet, the price per square foot is $1.44 per square feet. 

Affordable Coral Gables Rentals

There are tons of affordable Coral Gables rentals available for seasonal and annual leases.  From older homes in older Gables neighborhoods to units in high-rise condominiums, there is something to fit every budget and desire.  
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