Monday, December 8, 2014

Burgerfi®: The Best Burger on the Miracle Mile

Eating clean is becoming more popular than ever. For many, it is a way of life in an effort to have a healthy lifestyle. Every once in a while there is nothing like a good burger and a plate of fries. But, what if you could have the best of both worlds? 
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Burgerfi® is the answer to getting a great burger made from wholesome ingredients. It is located on the Miracle Mile in Coral Gables and is a hot spot on the radar of so many people visiting and living in Coral Gables and Miami. Think fresh, think organic -- local 100 percent ground beef with no antibiotics or hormones, organic potatoes. Think all beef hotdogs, freshly made custards and more. Think no additives and preservatives. 

Inside Burgerfi®, the concept of taking the idea of a 1950s-60s burger joint and bringing it today’s standards. As one of the most innovative and cool franchises, Burgerfi® caters to those who want a great hamburger at lunch, dinner and even late night. The minute you walk into the restaurant you are instantly in a good mood. Then once you take your first bite into the best tasting burger you will ever eat, you are transported to a state of nirvana. You know what we mean – there is nothing like eating that perfect burger and this is it.
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The reviews, for the most part, are stellar with praises going to several burgers, the fries and the onion rings.  On top of that, they have a nice selection of craft beers and the cokes come in the old style little Coke bottles.  Our favorite burger has to be the All Day Breakfast Burger.  Who would ever have thought to put a fried egg, hash browns on a burger with bacon and the usual stuff!  And, although it is probably not the healthiest of burgers, holy cow it is good! 

Living Near the Miracle Mile
Coral Gables condominiums and neighborhoods are full of residents who can easily walk to the Miracle Mile. That is one of the most appealing characteristics about living here. No matter what time of year, people enjoy strolling through the quaint, established areas of the Gables.
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In this area, Coral Gables condominiums list prices start in the mid-$200s and climb to well into the millions.  Within walking distance are several buildings that attract different buyers from first-time buyers to investors and those downsizing or buying second homes. 


With the holidays on us, more and more people are flocking to the heart of Coral Gables for shopping and eating out with friends and family.  The Miracle Mile is the bull’s eye for so much of the crowds.  Be sure to put Burgerfi® on your list.  You won’t be sorry.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Opera D’Arte: The City Beautiful’s Chicest Bridal Gallery on Bridal Row

With Thanksgiving upon us, you can see that the Christmas season has finally arrived as well.  Luckily, in sunny Florida, we only experience the holidays with timing and decorations instead of the dismal weather in the north. 

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While most people shop for toys, clothing, and other things that their friends and family want, there are those shoppers who buy the bling – ring bling to be exact.  The holidays are a time where the question is popped and the answer is a resounding YES!  When this happens, it means only one thing…it is time to shop for the dress and there is no better place to shop for the dress than along “Bridal Row”  on the Miracle Mile in Coral Gables.

Bridal Row is a section of the Miracle Mile that is home to over three dozen shops that cater to every single part of a wedding from the dress to the cake to the event planners who make the whole occasion happen.  This is where so many brides start the fun of planning “the most important day of their lives.” 

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As for bridal gowns, one of the most elegant shops on the Miracle Mile’s Bridal Row is Opera D’Arte.  This boutique has some of the most beautiful dresses to make any bride feel a princess for the day and takes bridal gown shopping to a new level. 

Not only do they help brides find the perfect gown, they host events throughout the year to showcase their designers and offer guests the opportunity to spend time with a designer’s representative and the store’s staff being fitted for a wedding gown.

Coral Gables is well known for its beauty and elegance which makes it the perfect backdrop for a destination wedding which makes sense since there is an entire area along the Miracle Mile devoted to this important and festive occasion.  The Biltmore Hotel and the Women’s Club of Coconut Grove are just a couple of the more popular venues where unbelievable wedding days culminate.
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As Coral Gables real estate experts, we work with a lot of people who are relocating to the area as they begin to plan the biggest day of their lives.  So why not exchange vows in the City Beautiful?  We always send them to Bridal Row to begin the planning process.  As for the dress, which let’s face it, is the thing that every bride treasures most, Opera D’Arte is our favorite.  We know that once any bride steps in this sophisticated and graceful boutique, the feeling will be mutual.

Opera D’Arte has trunk shows coming up including designer Riki Dalal, December 5-7 and Cotin Sposa, January 23-25, 2015.  Be sure to call for your private appointment. 


Monday, November 3, 2014

“Boutique” Coral Gables Condominiums

One of the most types of popular condominium properties is the “boutique” style condominium.  This term is commonly used in the real estate industry representing a more exclusive, smaller condominium with fewer units.  Real estate buyers tend to gravitate towards boutique condominiums because of the relaxed atmosphere, lower condo fees due to typically having fewer amenities and somewhat tighter leasing regulations within the condominium covenants.  Typically with boutique condominiums, there tend to be fewer units on the market as property owners lean towards staying put as well. 

Coral Gables is an affluent part of Miami-Dade that appeals to a more buyers who want to step back from the excitement and glitz of Miami’s more progressive neighborhoods.  Boutique condominiums lend themselves well to tranquility and exclusive nature of Coral Gables.  Here are a handful of highly sought after boutique Coral Gables condominiums with listings.

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Century Village Park, 1650 Galiano Street.  Century Village Park is a gorgeous boutique-style condominium built in 2010 and centrally located in a beautiful and established part of the Gables that is close to parks, golf courses, and shopping and dining on the Miracle Mile.  With only 41 units on eight floors, Century Village Park offers residents the choice of a one-story condominium unit housing one or two bedrooms or two-story townhouse with three bedrooms. The most appealing characteristics of Century Village Park are its Mediterranean style architecture on the exterior and the interior details that make this condominium stand apart from the pack.  Fixtures and finishes on the inside lend themselves to a more high-end residence with marble and hardwood flooring, elegant baseboard and crown molding throughout the home and update yet classically styled kitchens and baths.  List prices usually start in the upper-$200s and climb over $500K for single-story condominium units and the mid-$500s to mid-$700s for townhouses.  Investors can expect to garner anywhere from $2,500 per month for a one-bedroom unit to almost $4,000 per month for a three-bedroom townhouse. 


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The Nevis, 2650 SW 37th Avenue.  Located a mere two miles from the University of Miami, The Nevis is a nine-story condominium that houses only (41) one or two-bedroom units.  This is an ideal property for first-time buyers and those who are interested in second or winter homes.  Sizes range from just under 800 square feet for one-bedroom units to over 1,200 square feet for two-bedrooms and feature updated kitchens and baths along with extended balconies.  Amenities include an outdoor pool, assigned covered parking, 24-hour camera security and a fitness center with sauna.  List prices start at about $200K and climb to the mid to upper-$300s depending on the size and location of the unit. 


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Villa Calabria, 20 Calabria Avenue.  Villa Calabria is a six-story condominium with only (31) two-bedroom units ranging between 1,200 and 1,400 square feet in size.  It is ideally located just a few blocks from the Miracle Mile as well as area parks and top golf courses.  Units are open and spacious with updated fixtures and finishes along with extended balconies.  Amenities include a well-equipped fitness center, covered parking and a pool.  Currently there are two listings with list prices falling between the mid to upper-$300s even into the low-$400s.  Annual leases are allowed but there are none available.  This is an excellent option for those in need of a second home for business or spending extended time in Coral Gables and south Florida. 


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Villa Isabella, 322 Madeira Avenue.  Villa Isabella is a boutique condominium in the truest sense of the term with five stories and only 29 units with one or two bedrooms.  Built in 2004, it is a standout condominium with its unique Mediterranean architecture that is very common in this part of Miami-Dade. It features beautifully finished residences updated kitchens, spacious bedrooms and living areas along with an elegant balcony.  List prices fall from the upper-$200s to upper-$300s depending on the size and location.  Square footage ranges between about 750 and just over 1,500 square feet.  As for amenities, there is a gym as well as a beautiful roof top terrace, assigned parking and a secured entrance. Villa Isabella is centrally located within walking distance to the Miracle Mile and other areas that are very popular with Gables residents.  There is only one unit listed for sale which speaks to its popularity.  As for rentals, annual leases are allowed with rental rates typically falling between $2,000 and $3,000 per month. 


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Villa Zamora, 118 Zamora Avenue.  Unlike many other boutique Coral Gables condominiums, Villa Zamora is ideal for home buyers interested in second or vacation homes as each property owner receives a complimentary membership to the Biltmore Hotel.  In terms of what is featured at Villa Zamora, amenities are similar to those in upscale condominiums and include 24-hr security cameras, covered parking, gated entry, a private elevator lobby, full-size washer and dryer, and impact glass windows.  Inside each residence, owners have a spacious kitchen with granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and custom cabinetry, an open living area, full laundry room, a large bedroom with double vanity master bath and so much more.  List prices range from the low-$500s to mid-$600s.  Rental rates typically fall between about $2,500 and $3,200 per month with two rentals allowed each year. 



Offer Lower Condominium Fees
Boutique condominiums are very popular in South Florida especially in Coral Gables.  They offer an exclusive atmosphere where everyone knows everyone in the building with a bonus of lower condominium fees.  The key to being lucky enough to purchase a property in a boutique condominium is to grab it before it is gone as they sell quickly.  

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Another New Restaurant Opens in the Gables – The Seven Dials

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Open for about a month, The Seven Dials seems to be attracting people from all over Miami-Dade County.  The “eclectic gastro-pub” has received rave reviews from Yelp and lots of press from local news sites which seems to be driving people to the Gables to try the new hot spot out. 

For those who live in the area, The Seven Dials, named for a part of London where seven streets come together, is located in The Minorca Condominium at 2300 South Douglas Boulevard.  It is just a few short blocks off the Miracle Mile and brings a new influence to the area’s other establishments.  With the weather beginning to cool slightly, more and more residents have begun to hit the streets again and enjoy one of the most spectacular appeals of the Gables – its walkability.

At The Seven Dials, there is a large selection of local beers as well as yummy selections on the menu.  The menu is sort of a fusion of American and British favorites.  Although lunch is basic, the food, prepared by owner/chef, Andrew Gilbert (Michy’s and Senora Martinez), is absolutely delectable.  For dinner, there is a wide array of meat and protein from the charcuterie menu seasoned and cooked to perfection as well as a delicious dinner menu.  Thus far, the favorites seem to be the chicken pate and fish and chips with mushed peas. 


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A Very Appealing City
Coral Gables is a very appealing city in Miami-Dade County.  Not only is it absolutely beautiful, it has such a style all of its own.  The business district around the Miracle Mile is filled with some of the best shopping around as well as the best food in the best restaurants and eateries.  That is why the condominiums in and around the heart of the Gables are so popular.  In this area, Coral Gables real estate is comprised primarily of condominiums with list prices starting in the mid-$200s and climbing to well into the millions. 

Within walking distance to The Seven Dials, there are several buildings that appeal to different buyers from first-time buyers to those wanting to downsize or have a second home during the winter.  The closest is The Minorca, the condominium in which The Seven Dials is located.  It is a boutique building with only 50 units on 15 floors and is very affordable for the area with list prices between the upper-$200s and low-$500s. 

coral-gables-restaurantsOther buildings close by include Ten Aragon, 55 Merrick and Douglas Grand.  Ten Aragon and 55 Merrick are within a block or two of The Seven Dials and offer property for sale from the mid-$200s to the upper-$500s.   The properties feature large and open residences as well as tons of amenities that make living there very comfortable. 

Nearby neighborhoods like Gables Granada, Gables Country Club, and even Gables Riviera are home to residents who love to eat out and even walk to the business district to enjoy everything there. 

With the restaurant doing so well, nearby Coral Gables residents are flocking to The Seven Gables to meet friends and entertain guests.  We promise that you will enjoy it and want to come back sooner rather than later. 




Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Affordable Coconut Grove Condominiums

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Coconut Grove has always been known for its exclusive gated communities that are home to enormous waterfront estates.  But, there are also a lot of affordable Coconut Grove condominiums that are perfect for first-time buyers and investors as well as those who want to downsize or have a second home in sunny Florida.  Here are a few of Coconut Grove’s nicest and most affordable condominiums that are located in the heart of the Grove’s business district – in the middle of everything.

Grove Paradise, 3200-3218 West Trade Avenue, Coconut Grove.  For buyers who are all about location, this is a hot pick.  Grove Paradise is an enclave of two-story condominium units in a private, gated community located just blocks from Highway 1 that travels into Downtown Miami and Coral Gables as well as a short drive to the University of Miami and the Coconut Grove rail station. Perfect investments for first-time buyers, Grove Paradise properties feature two bedrooms and two baths along with nice-sized kitchens and bedrooms and lovely back patio areas fenced-in for privacy.  Built in 1981, most units can use a little TLC and modern updating.  Investors can look to Grove Paradise as long-term leases are allowed.  Although there are no units currently listed for rent, monthly rental rates in the area fall between about $1,800 and $3,000.  With list prices ranging from the mid-$200s to about $300K, Grove Paradise is a smart and affordable buy.


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South 27 Lofts, 3001 South 27th Avenue, Coconut Grove.  Talk about a boutique condominium!  This is an exclusive address in Coconut Grove that appeals to those who want convenience and a very chic atmosphere.  South 27 Lofts features only 30 units in the entire four-story building along with a fitness center, a roof-top terrace, swimming pool and nice lobby.  Ideally located in the heart of the Grove, South 27 Lofts is just a short walk or drive from Dinner Key Marina, CocoWalk, Monty’s, and, most importantly, the Fresh Market.  Each loft-style residence offers a modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops and custom cabinetry.  Each residence also has large bedrooms and a nice balcony or terrace with lovely city views.  South 27 Lofts list prices typically range from about $300K to the low to mid-$400s for one and two-bedroom residences.  Investors interested in South 27 Lofts can expect to lease units up to twice a year with monthly rental rates falling between about $2,000 to $3,000. 


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Lofts at Mayfair, 3339 Virginia Street Coconut Grove.  Built in 2007, the Lofts at Mayfair condominium is a low-rise, five-story condominium with a total of (99) one and two-bedroom units.  The condominium is ideally located in the heart of Coconut Grove close to everything from the Dinner Key, oceanfront parks and Fresh Market.  With square feet ranging from almost 700 to about 1,100 square feet, units at the Loft at Mayfair have a classic loft-style feel to them with exposed concrete floors, high ceilings, terraces and second floor lofts as well as modern kitchens with stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, and contemporary custom cabinets.  Community amenities include a large pool, fitness center and spa.  The Lofts at Mayfair feature list prices that range from the upper-$200s to mid-$400s.  This is a great option for first-time buyers and those who want a vacation home in sunny Florida. 


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Grove Square Condo, 2801 Florida Avenue, Coconut Grove.  Just like the other area condominiums, Grove Square is a low-rise building with only four stories and (92) one and two-bedroom units of which 12 are two-story townhouse residences.  Centrally located in the heart of the Grove, Grove Square is just blocks from CocoWalk and the other popular stops that make this condominium such a sought-after address.  Some of the highlights of living here include a pool, fitness center and beautiful lobby.  Each residence offers owners updated kitchens, open and airy loft-style interiors and modern fixtures and finishes.  List prices broadly fall within the low to upper-$200s with annual leases allowed.  Properties at Grove Square appeal to a broad range of buyers making it a very sought-after condominium where listings sell and rent very quickly. 


Affordable Options

It is very nice to realize that Coconut Grove has affordable options for a broader range of real estate buyers who have a desire to live or own investments in the Grove.  From condominiums that start in the low-$200s to single-family homes starting in the low-$300s all centrally located in the heart of the Grove, more buyers can give Coconut Grove real estate more consideration.  

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Park Grove – Coconut Grove

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Brickell, Edgewater and other suburban cities around Miami are not the only areas in Miami-Dade County where developers are setting their sights.  In Coconut Grove, top developers, Terra Group and Related Group have joined forces to develop another great condominium community – Park Grove.  Being pegged as the perfect alternative to the sold out Grove at Grand Bay (just happens to be next door), Park Grove is an ultra-luxurious three-tower condominium situated right on the Bay with glorious water and city views from all vantage points.  Park Grove will bring 298 new residences to the oldest community in South Florida offering potential buyers the ideal spot to land whether downsizing is the plan or finding the perfect spot to spend part of the year. 

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Tentatively slated to start construction in early next year, the three towers will be built in phases.  In addition to the residential towers, also slated is a bank and multi-level clubhouse with public amenities.  Park Grove is taking Coconut Grove real estate to the next level making it destined to be a sought after condominium in the Grove.

Parties Involved in Making It Happen
Coconut Grove’s own Terra Group has partnered with Miami’s hot-shot developer, The Related Group, to develop Park Grove.  Together, they have tapped one of the most revered architectural firms, OMA headed by partners Rem Koolhaus and Shohei Shigematsu to create and bring to life Park Grove.  From there, they have world-renowned interior designer, William Sofield, and international landscape architect Enzo Enea to give the new condominium its style and grace.   
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Location of Park Grove
Situated on 5.2 acres of Bayfront property, Park Grove’s address is 2701 Bayshore Drive across from Dinner Key Marina in the heart of Coconut Grove.  It is also within walking distance to high-end shopping and dining for which Coconut Grove is known.   

Coconut Grove is the oldest town in Miami Dade County and is filled with so much history as well as sites to see including Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Barnacle State Park, and some of the best shopping in the area.
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Park Grove Highlights
Included in the Park Grove project are “50,000 amenities” according to the developers’ literature.  To highlight the community amenities, LEED-certified Park Grove offers residents expansive Bay and city views, 24-hour concierge and valet service, butler service, business center with meeting rooms, rooftop pools with private cabanas, dedicated penthouse pools, wine cellars and lockers for residents, areas dedicated for yoga, state of the art fitness centers, integrated media systems library, exquisitely designed common areas and building lobbies, adult gaming room with billiards and ping pong, and so much more.  Probably one of the most notable amenities may be the extensive art collection planned for the common areas which is not surprising considering Jorge Perez is one of the primary developers.
Property owners will enjoy open and airy residences with walls of windows, gourmet kitchens with high-end appliances, fixtures and finishes, large bedrooms and wide balconies with spectacular views.  The features are endless and make it obvious why this will become such an exclusive address. 
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Real Estate at Park Grove
Reservations are being taken for the buildings with construction expected to start sometime during the first couple of months in 2015.  All three towers will have 20 floors with two towers housing only 72 units in each one and another Club Residence comprised of 140 units. 
In Tower 2 (the first of the premium tower to be built), there are only four floor plans from which to choose with sizes ranging from just over 2,200 square feet for a two-bedroom property to almost 3,600 square feet for a four-bedroom, five and a half bath residence.  List prices start around $2.5 million and climb to almost $5 million.
For the Club Residence (Tower 3), sizes are smaller and more affordable with 750-square foot, one-bedroom, one-bath units starting in the mid-$500s; two-bedroom units priced from the mid-$700s to over $1.2 million; and finally, three-bedroom units priced from the mid-$900s to about $1.5 million.
It is worth noting that about 30 percent of Tower 2 is reserved with about 20 percent of the Club Residences reserved.  For reservations, 10% is due followed by another 10% at contract.  From there, another 10% is required at ground breaking and 10% at residence floor.  Finally, 50% is due at closing.

Unbelievable Luxury
Park Grove is going to be an unbelievable property and very popular especially considering the Grove at Grand Bay is sold out.  Let us set up a private tour at the sales center.  We promise that Park Grove will amaze you.  It is Coconut Grove real estate at its finest. 




Saturday, September 6, 2014

Top Five Coral Gables Country Club Listings

Many of the Miami-Dade communities are undergoing major overhauls whether through the development of planned neighborhoods or the complete destruction of older homes on premium lots.  Coral Gables is one of the area communities where buyers are buying up older homes in need of an overhaul so that they can knock it down to build their dream homes. 
But in the midst of all this new construction, the Coral Gables Country Club neighborhood sits in all its grandeur with some of the most beautiful and unique homes commonly described as “old Florida.”  Surrounding some of the Gables nicest golf courses (Riviera Country Club and Biltmore Golf Course)ost have a Mediterranean influence in their design and no matter the size offer characteristics not found in newly constructed homes today.
The Country Club neighborhood is a carefully thought out and designed neighborhood that features homes in most every price range and size from the coziest bungalows that appeal to buyers who want to update and renovate property to the most impressive estates that entice only discerning buyers who expect a level of excellence.  On top of this, the location is ideal as it is close to some of the area’s best shopping as well as top public and private schools and golf courses (as we mentioned earlier.  Additionally, the University of Miami and Miami International Airport are a short drive from this centrally located neighborhood.
There is a broad spectrum of list prices in Coral Gables Country Club typically ranging from the low-$400s to the millions.  Following are the top five Coral Gables Country Club listings:
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3305 Alhambra Circle, List Price:  $12,500,000
WOW!  What else can be said for this grand manor?  Originally designed by Walter De Garmo (Women’s Club of Coconut Grove), this estate, built in 1926, is an architectural masterpiece with eight bedrooms and six and a half baths with a one-bedroom, one bath private apartment.  While the home has been updated, the original finishes radiate throughout the house with wood beam Cathedral ceilings, inlaid marble floors, intricately carved wood doors, and more.  The large chef’s kitchen is amazing as is the open living area with French doors leading out the Mediterranean-revival style pool area and deck.  A large backyard area opens up to the fairway along the Biltmore Hotel’s golf course.  The home is surrounded by a high wall on three sides with private double iron gated entrances to exude privacy as an estate of this caliber should. 

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3200 Granada Boulevard, List Price:  $4,850,000
Pulling into the driveway of your new home on Granada Boulevard signifies that you have truly arrived.  Granada Boulevard is a street that stretches across two Coral Gables neighborhoods.  As the street numbers get larger so do the houses along this lovely tree-lined street in one of the nicest neighborhoods in Coral Gables.  The gated, tree-lined entry of this spectacular leads to a beautiful estate is remniscent of a European estate understated in its design yet one of the most gorgeous homes on the street.  Inside, this home showcases vaulted ceilings, wood inlay floors, and so many other intricate features and fixtures.   The kitchen itself is a dream kitchen to anyone who enters with it exposed brick walls, high-end stainless steel appliances, and granite countertops.  The master features tons of room with a sitting area as well as a custom designed walk-in closet, enormous bath and terrace.  There is so much to see that it is necessary to tour this grand estate.  Remodeled in 2009, this is the ideal home for entertaining as well as enjoying life in Florida.   
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2800 Alhambra Circle, List Price:  $4,395,000
Another home on the highly desirable Alhambra Circle is this showplace built by Legacy Custom Homes.  Under the 7,113 square feet are large rooms that flow from one to the other in a most relaxed manner making the house perfect for entertaining.  Additionally, there is a large chef’s kitchen with beautiful granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances and room for a large kitchen table for family dinners.  There are six bedrooms and seven and a half baths with each bedroom having its own private bath.  Outdoors, the residents and their guests can enjoy the Florida sunshine from the large rear patio and veranda adjacent to a resort-style pool while dining on meals prepared in the outdoor kitchen.  Other fixtures and finishes include a gated entry, automobile courtyard, elevator and exquisite extras throughout the home.  This is truly a showplace without being ostentatious.    
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3309 Granada Boulevard, List Price:  $2,995,000
Back over to Granada Boulevard, we have another spectacular home currently under construction by Gregan.  This gated estate with a Transitional European architectural style will feature a fountain courtyard that will lead to a beautiful foyer at the main entrance.  Inside, the plans show a large kitchen and family room that open to a rear yard with beautiful pool and pergola.  On the first floor, there will be a guest suite as well as one for house staff.  Upstairs the master spreads across the entire rear of the house and includes a sitting room, two walk-in closets and an unbelievable master bath.  This is a huge opportunity to live on one of the best streets in Coral Gables in a new home that is as impressive as those around it. 
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4209 Santa Maria Street, List Price:  $2,875,000
It is the intricate detail that makes this home an absolute treasure.  Situated in the main section of Merrick’s historic Pioneer Village is this gracious 5,300+ square foot estate with a Mediterranean architectural design.  Situated on Santa Maria Street, this home offers panoramic golf course views across Riviera Country Club.  Inside, the foyer opens to a huge two-story great room with stunning open beamed ceilings, a large fireplace, and upper level bookcases that line the walls.  Additionally, there is a dream kitchen with sleek granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and custom cabinetry which opens to a large breakfast area and into a family room.  The bedrooms are large and feature hardwood floors.  Outside, there is a lovely covered loggia with an outdoor living area with a tropical feel.  There is impact glass as well as extra land large enough for a guest house, pool or an addition onto the main house. 
Classic Florida Real Estate
The Country Club neighborhood in the heart of Coral Gables is probably one of the most sought after areas for Coral Gables real estate buyers.  It is in this neighborhood that homes feature the best in classic Florida real estate with a modern twist where inside most properties there are substantial updates so that the idea of a “dream home” is a true reality.  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Dog-Friendly Restaurants in Coral Gables

Coral Gables has always been a very walkable city and with so many residents and visitors out with their dogs in tow, many businesses have embraced the idea that dogs are welcome to their establishments. There are several area restaurants that are very open to their patrons bringing their furry babies with them.  Here are our favorite dog friendly restaurants in Coral Gables:

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Lokal Burgers and Beer, 3190 Commodore Plaza, Coconut Grove.  Located in Coconut Grove, Lokal is such a dog-friendly restaurant it has a dog menu with items like “Marmaduke’s Meatloaf.”  Open every day for lunch and dinner, dogs are allowed on the patio which is logical.  Lokal Burgers has received lots of accolades which is no surprise once you eat here.  Miami New Times voted Lokal as one of the “Top 10 Best Chicken and Waffles in Miami” as well as having one of the “Top Five Veggie Burgers in Miami” not to mention “Top 10 Dog Friendly Restaurants in Miami.”  It is well worth it venturing over there to enjoy one of the best burgers you will ever eat and the coldest beer you will ever drink.  The Frita burger is absolutely awesome with the guava jelly and gruyere cheese.  Another favorite is the Lokal burger with its local twist of Florida grass-fed burger topped with homemade honey mustard using local honey, melted jack cheese, Florida tomatoes, sliced red onions, arugula, and Homestead avocados. It literally does not get much better than that.  This is the perfect place to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon with Fido. 

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Shake Shack, 1450 South Dixie Highway (US1), Coral Gables.  Another dog-friendly favorite is the Shake Shack.  And, yes, again, this fairly new hot spot is so dog friendly it offers a few items for the pooch.  The stand out attribute about the newest Shake Shack is that it was built with sustainable and recycled materials.  For instance, the tables were sourced from reclaimed bowling alley lanes handcrafted in Brooklyn, NY, and window seating was made with wooden counters made from river-recovered cypress.  It is just a hop, skip and a jump from University of Miami and has good burgers, fries, shakes, custards and more. They even have wine and beer if you want it.  The shakes and cones are made with frozen custard made from real sugar and milk that contains no hormones or antibiotics right at the restaurant.  If you are calorie conscious, feel good knowing that the Shake Shack features calorie counts for each item on the menu.  As for out furry children, there are a handful of items on the menu for the dogs as well as their own bowls of water. 

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Ortanique on the Mile, 287 Miracle Mile.  An all-time favorite restaurant on the Miracle Mile is also a very pet friendly restaurant in the Gables.  And it is a good thing since the Mile is one of the most highly traversed roads by foot in all of Miami-Dade County. After all, the Miracle Mile is so close to Coral Gables condominiums.  So you can just imagine the number of dogs that walk on the Mile!  As for the restaurant, it is unique, Caribbean themed restaurant that is very similar to its sister restaurant in Grand Cayman.  There are so many favorites on the menu from ceviche to fresh salads and seafood that patrons have a hard time choosing something so they come back.  As for pets, it is very common to see people having lunch and dinner outside on the patio with their beloved furry family members sitting beside them.   Everyone loves Ortanique on the Mile and goes there over and over again.  It is one of those spots where you enjoy sitting outside with friends and family while enjoying tropical drinks and dining on delicious specialties. 

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Pete’s Authentic Cooking, 153 Giralda Avenue.  Everyone loves Pete’s Authentic Cooking – we know that!  But to add its dog-friendly nature to its status takes it even further up the food chain.  It offers some of the best sandwiches, salads and more in addition to breakfast and brunch items that leave you wanting more.  Open only on weekdays between 8am and 4pm, Pete’s is very popular spot in Downtown Coral Gables which is why it is so crowded.  And for those who love taking their dogs with them everywhere they go, Pete’s is very dog friendly.  For those who watch what they eat or who avoid certain foods, Pete’s has vegan and gluten-free items to appeal to everybody.  Just check out the blackboard for specials and the extensive menu if you still need ideas.  When coming with the dog, be sure to sit outside.  While they love dogs, they know that not all of their customers do, so they prefer to keep them outdoors.  But, hey!  This is South Florida – it is much nicer to sit outside!

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Spizzigo, 127 Giralda Avenue.  Of course, we have to include an Italian restaurant in our dog friendly picks.  And one of favorites is Spizzigo just off the Miracle Mile.  Open for lunch and dinner, Spizzigo features fresh homemade pastas as well as unbelievably good pizza and the best wines and drinks for everyone who has a craving for Italian.  And being so close to the Mile, it is also a restaurant within walking distance to many Coral Gables condominiums and neighborhoods.  When the outdoor dining is set up, dogs are very welcome to hang with their parents.  Everyone wolfs down the pizza bread they bring when seated as well as most everything on the menu.  Its classic Italian fares are the best around and the prices are not outlandish which makes it easy to eat here a couple of days (or nights) a week.  Top your meal off with their gelato and you will think you are in paradise.  And, if you bring the dog, you can walk off dinner! 

A Dog-Friendly City
Not only is Coral Gables called the City Beautiful, it is a very dog friendly city as well.  Whether you live in a centrally located Coral Gables neighborhood or away from the downtown business area, there are lots of businesses that invite dogs just as often as they invite their owners. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Top Coral Gables Waterfront Neighborhoods

There is no doubt, if you live in South Florida, more than likely you love the water.  While many simply want to have access to it whenever they need it or have all the toys that come with living on the waterfront, Coral Gables offers neighborhoods that are ideal waterfront communities for those who are drawn to the water.  Here are a few of the top Coral Gables waterfront neighborhoods:

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Deering Bay, List Prices:  $1 Million to $5 Million
Deering Bay has everything an upscale, exclusive community in South Florida should have from its own marinas and yacht club to the only Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course as well as a nice mix of single-family homes and five condominium communities:  Verona, Venice, Siena, Milano and Padua.  It appeals to everyone including families, retirees and anyone who is accustomed to luxury style and privacy. 

In terms of the properties, no stone is left unturned leaving each and every property features all amenities along with top of the line fixtures and finishes expected in any million-dollar plus home in South Florida.  At the top of the list are the views that every home has the privilege to enjoy.  While not all may be water views, the other views play host to meticulously manicured fairways, the adjoining preserve, or one of the three yacht clubs.  To enjoy the community’s luxury amenities, private membership is required but well worth the investment.  Residents enjoy a 30,000-foot clubhouse with formal dining, an informal restaurant, private wine cellar, state of the art fitness center, and more.  As for the “fun,” there is a large swimming beach, junior Olympic-sized pool and more (we’ve mentioned the marinas and yacht club). 

Deering Bay real estate list prices start at about $1 million for a residence in one of the condominiums to about $5 million for a large single-family home with private dock and boat lift.   Many of the single-family homes sit on wide canals with direct access to the Bay.  They have docks with lifts that accommodate large yachts as well as multiple vessels.  One of the most appealing traits of Deering Bay is access to the marinas that provide accommodations for various size vessels.  This is why we put it in our list of top neighborhoods for yacht owners and water lovers.

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Gables Estates, List Prices:  $3 million to over $30 Million
Another exclusive waterfront community is Gables Estates. Located in South Gables, it spreads out over 200 acres of shoreline and features some of the most unbelievably palatial estates in the entire country.  As an ideal community for yacht owners, 192 of the lots in Gables Estates are waterfront lots that sit on wide, deep sea-walled canals perfect for large mega-yachts and multiple vessels.

The architectural style in Gables Estates varies but for the most part, has a Mediterranean or Spanish influence and each is surrounded by lush tropical landscaping.  Inside each home, every fixture and finish is perfectly placed to create some of the most beautiful homes in the world.  To give an idea of available Gables Estates properties, the sizes range from about 5,000 square feet (that is large to most people) with five and six bedrooms to well over 16,000 square feet with nine or more bedrooms.  List prices fall between about $6 million to about $20 million.  Over the last three months, three properties have sold with sale prices ranging from $4.5 to $8.5 million.  Typically, homes may take up to a year to sell simply because of the limited number of potential buyers. But without a doubt, this neighborhood is well worth it to live here.

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Tahiti Beach, List Prices:  $2 Million to $15 Million
Without a doubt, Tahiti Beach is the most exclusive neighborhood in all of Coral Gables.  It is one that truly takes your breath away while driving through it.  This very private neighborhood is situated in the South Gables and on Tampa Bay giving many of the beautiful estates amazing Biscayne Bay views.  Those not directly on the Bay are situated on wide canals with direct and easy access to the Bay.  Not only is this a perfect neighborhood for yacht owners, it is ideal for those who own large yachts or several vessels. 

The entire community is guard gated with some homes further secured with private gates.  The architectural styles vary with one thing in common – grand and stately.  On top of that, the interiors feature unbelievable gourmet chef’s kitchens, three car garages, elegant foyers and resort-style pool and entertainment areas that overlook the water.  From there, the neighborhood tennis facilities, a community pool with a well-appointed clubhouse, a large playground and more.  

Some of the area’s most well-known celebrities live in Tahiti Beach.  Homes in Tahiti Beach real estate is typically priced anywhere from about $2-3 million all the way to about $15 million. Only one 10-bedroom, 10-bath home with over 21,000 square feet has sold over the past few months with a sale price at $18 million.  This is the simply the top neighborhood for yacht owners and water lovers.

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Other Excellent Neighborhoods

While these are three top areas for yacht owners and water lovers, there are other excellent neighborhoods from which to choose that feature similar properties and amenities.  List prices in neighborhoods like Gables by the Sea and Cocoplum start as low as $1.5 million and can climb to over $30 million in Tahiti Beach or Gables Estates.  The common denominator of all the waterfront communities is the easy direct access to the Bay whether situated directly on the Bay or on one of the deep and wide canals that feed directly into the Bay.   

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Coral Gables Top Five Best Rated Restaurants

In an area like Coral Gables that known for its amazing restaurants, residents and visitors always have a major decision to make when heading out to eat.  There are so many from which to choose that it makes it so hard to decide.  Because it is such a “walkable” city, many Coral Gables neighborhoods are within walking distance to a lot of them, it is nice to make an evening out of going out to dinner by walking to and from the restaurant.  Even in the summer, the evenings cool some so it is such a pleasant way to cap off a perfect day in the Florida sunshine.  To give you an idea of the community’s favorite places, here is a list of five of the top rated Coral Gables restaurants:

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Gusto Fino Italian Deli, 271 Alhambra Circle.  Let’s face it – there is nothing like a good Italian deli and at Gusto Fino is as authentic as you can get.  From the atmosphere to the mouthwatering delicacies prepared with so much love, this is one of Coral Gables top places to eat.  The sandwiches are absolutely amazing and full of fresh ingredients.  Everyone always raves about the meatball and chicken parmesan sandwiches but, no matter what you order, you will be back for more.  Gusto just moved to a new and larger location only a few blocks from the former location.  The prices are reasonable with items on the menu costing no more than $12 – that includes dishes like Chicken Parmigiano and other large pasta dishes.  Visitors must venture into Gusto for lunch – it is a favorite for most Coral Gables residents!  Hours are 11am – 6pm, Monday through Saturday.

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Pete’s Authentic Cooking, 153 Giralda Avenue.  “Authentic” is the perfect word to describe another favorite breakfast/lunch spot in Coral Gables.  Located just off the Miracle Mile on Restaurant Row, Pete’s offers a wide variety of delicious sandwiches, salads and so much more as well as wonderful breakfast and brunch fares. It is situated within a nice quick walk from several Coral Gables condominiums and neighborhoods which makes for a nice walk in the Florida sunshine.  Pete’s is very popular spot in Downtown Coral Gables so it is more than likely going to have a crowd but once you eat here, you will know why it is so crowded.  It has a casual atmosphere with a touch of sophistication just as you expect a place in Coral Gables to have.  In addition to the standard menu lots of options including vegan and gluten-free, there are always specials on a blackboard that are just as delicious.  Pete’s is open only on weekdays between 8am and 4pm and is a great place to meet up with friends or take out of town guests. 

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Frenchie’s American Diner, 2618 Galiano Street.   This restaurant combines the best of French and American cuisine into a restaurant that seems to be a favorite with most anyone who eats here.  Where else can you get a Duck Confit Club Sandwich with Fries (French fries that is)?  Duck Confit on a club!  Luckily Frenchie’s is open for lunch and dinner with the most delectable dishes one can imagine.  But plan on dining at Frenchie’s on a weeknight because they are closed on the weekends.  Probably the most popular thing is the French Onion Soup and when you see the bubbly cheese over the onion soup then taste it, you will be in heaven!  Situated just off the Miracle Mile, Frenchie’s is located in the heart of Downtown Coral Gables and within walking distance to many well-known Coral Gables condominiums like Ten Aragon and other neighborhoods. 

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Uvaggio, 70 Miracle Mile.  Everyone loves a good tapas restaurant and in Coral Gables, the favorite tapas place is Uvaggio.  Situated on the Miracle Mile, this is a top notch wine bar that has a strong European influence and is simply a fabulous place to meet up with friends after work or end a day of Miracle Mile shopping with wine and tapas.  The place is small with only six tables but it is not what you would call overcrowded.  The service is impeccable which makes the experience that much better.  The options are delicious with items like duck confit with cherries, goat cheese hummus and, wait for it, cinnamon roll bread pudding.  Open nightly Monday through Saturday since April, everyone in the area has been raving about it, so if you haven’t already, head over to Uvaggio for some of the best food and wine you will ever eat and drink. 

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Café Bistro at Nordstrom, Village of Merrick Park.  It would not be right if we did not mention the Café Bistro at Nordstrom.  They have so many delicious items on their menu that it is common to hear “let’s go eat at Nordstrom.”  This place is different in that everyone orders at the counter then waits for the staff to bring it to your table.  It is a very elegant process to order though so that shouldn't throw anyone off.  A couple of the most popular items on the menu that get the most “ooo’s and ahhh’s” are the Citrus Turkey Sandwich and the crab bisque.  It is kid-friendly which makes it easy when shopping with the kids.  But when solo or with friends, it is the perfect spot to stop and enjoy lunch or an early dinner while shopping.  Luckily, it is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and like the others mentioned here, it is within walking distance from several Coral Gables condominiums like 55 Merrick and neighborhoods like Gables Riviera and Granada. 

Tons of Top Rated Restaurants

In addition to the elegant and tropical atmosphere for which Coral Gables is known, restaurants are something that keep people coming to our city beautiful.  There are tons of top rated restaurants from which to choose.  The ones mentioned here are a handful of those that get the most rave reviews and high ratings.  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Paraiso BayViews – Fourth Tower of Massive Related Group Mega Project

As Paraiso Bay’s first two towers are about to break ground this summer in the Edgewater neighborhood, the project has grown to become one of the largest South Florida condominium projects.  And now, pre-construction sales have just opened up for units in the “fourth tower” called Paraiso BayViews.  Along with Paraiso Bay and One Paraiso, the entire mega-project continues to grow by leaps and bounds with the buildings surrounding Paraiso Bay Park.  Related has added to the park plans which will now include a beach club with a Michael Schwartz restaurant and boat slips for use by residents and their guests.    

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Adding to the fact that Paraiso means paradise, Paraiso BayViews offers bay views that will truly make living here like living in paradise.  The Paraiso BayViews plans add a 44-story tower with 396 units to the “compound” which totals 1,362 units in the four towers.  Construction is tentatively slated to start in November with completion in 2017. 

Paraiso BayViews Location
The Edgewater neighborhood is undergoing a major overhaul and revitalization to take it from the sketchy neighborhood it used to be to an up and coming trendy section of Miami.  Situated directly on Biscayne Bay, this is a logical direction with the entire Paraiso Bay development looking like it will be the sort of hub of Edgewater with four condominium towers, a huge park and a beach club with restaurant and beach club yacht slips.  In addition to Paraiso, retailers, restaurants and other condominium projects are in the works to add to Edgewater. 

The location is ideal as it is very close to other popular Miami neighborhoods including Brickell, the Design District, and the Wynwood Arts District.  Additionally, it is a short drive from South Beach (just across the Tuttle Causeway) and major travel hubs like Miami International Airport and the Port of Miami.   
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Brains Behind Paraiso BayViews
The brains behind Paraiso BayViews lie with the Related Group which is, once again, partnering with Arquitectonica and famed interior designer, Karim Rashid.  This team brought us myBrickell which, by the way, is sold out.  With the Related Group, anything is possible to the point that the company’s executives were able to swing the permanent closing 31st Street to accommodate the property and its enormous park. 

Amenities at Parasio BayViews
Amenities at Paraiso BayViews are still in the works but what we know so far makes it very attractive to live here.  Some that have been mentioned so far include a roof-top pool on the 44th floor, a fitness club with a 50-foot pool and private treatment pools and an exclusive membership to the Michael Schwartz beach club and restaurant. 

Just like the other condominiums at Paraiso, each unit will be decorator-ready and offer amazing Biscayne Bay as well as all the bells and whistles expected in Related Group projects.  As more details become available, we will provide updates.    

paraiso-bay-real-estateReal Estate at Paraiso BayViews
Pre-construction sales have just been announced for Paraiso BayViews.  The “fourth tower” plans to offer affordable luxury with one, two, and three-bedroom plans.  List prices will fall between the mid-$300s to over $800K.  With this in mind, for pre-construction sales, the tentative payment schedule is as follows:
  • 10% with Reservations
  • 20% at Contract
  • 20% 120 Days after Contract
  • 10% 120 Days from Last Deposit
  • 40% at Closing

Our Part of Paradise

Our part of paradise in Miami is destined to be at Paraiso Bay which includes Paraiso BayViews.  Like the other surrounding neighborhoods, Edgewater is on its way to becoming a top neighborhood in Miami with Paraiso Bay as one of the top condominiums.  
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