Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Changes are coming to Coral Gables

Next year several remodeling projects for the city will be carried out. Coral Gable's future comes with towers pushing up against the limits of the city's famously stringent zoning rules, new hotels, hundreds of condos, apartment units, an array of offices, restaurants, public art and pedestrian-friendly developments.

The discussion about the renovation of Miracle Mile lasted for about three decades. Recently, the approval of local residents made the difference to go through with the modernization project. Within this project is also the renovation of neighboring Giralda Avenue.

Miracle Mile and Giralda Avenue streetscape project aimed to give a new face to the streets. An expansion of the sidewalks width will be made, making the streets a lively pedestrian-friendly area capable of luring new and diverse businesses, provide more space for bicycles by slightly narrowing auto travel lanes, and replacing angled street parking with parallel parking. Retractable bollards will make it easy to close the street for special events such as the popular Giralda Under the Stars. The development of this project will be done quickly and without interfering with normal business life since it will not be done all at once but gradually after the holiday season.

Among other projects is the Mediterranean Village at Ponce Circle, a project of more than 6 acres. In one of its areas it will have a greater height than the Biltmore Hotel, which has been the limit for the last 90 years. It is expected to result in an urbanistically cohesive, well-designed set of buildings; including a five-star hotel, a class A office building, two condo towers, 15 townhomes, a rooftop restaurant, public plazas and streets that will bring fresh commercial and pedestrian life to what has been a dead zone for too long.

Under the Mediterranean Village development, the city is also installing new bike lane routes and expanding its popular trolley-bus system.

Also, among new developments redefining Coral Gables is this project that involves replacing the old Holiday Inn with two towers; a 13-story residential building and a 10-story hotel. The project would feature shops and restaurants on the ground floor and a pedestrian passage connecting to the adjoining neighborhood.  It will activate the corner of U.S. 1 and Caballero with transit-oriented development, which includes the green space that the 0.5-acre Paseo will provide.

This is not even the beginning; there are still many projects in the city develoment pipeline. However, not all the contemplated projects will actually get built or go as big as proposed, since they must meet the strict zoning rules of the city. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

What’s new in The Roads

The Roads is known for its old homes, historic public schools, and its tree-covered streets. It was designed, platted and developed by Mary Brickell in 1922 as a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, with wide streets, median parkways and roundabouts with native Miami plants. Today, many of the residents in the Roads are young families and urban professionals who work in neighboring Brickell and Downtown Miami.

A Limited Edition of 24 modern residences has been developed in this neighborhood.  Designed by award-winning architect Kobi Karp, Eleven in The Roads is quintessentially refined and uncommonly private, designed for the most discerning of purchasers.

According to its website, residences feature the ultimate in modern luxury living with breathtaking attention to detail and a carefully curated sense of style; these 24 bespoke condominium residences ranging from 1,386 square feet to 2,187 square feet embrace the quiet confidence and modern elegance that define Miami.

All residences offer generous layouts with up to 10.4′ ceilings, in-suite bathrooms, oversized windows and flowing entertainment spaces, custom cabinets by Snaidero, Compac Quartz counters, Bosch stainless steel appliances, and other unexpected surprises including private gardens, decks and roof-top terraces in select residences.  Three types of units are available: Garden Residences, Spa Residences, and Penthouse Residences.

Eleven in the Roads is as much about transcending trends, forsaking conventional ideas, and creating innovative living spaces. The landscape is an active interplay of nature and architecture featuring gardens and roof-top amenities imaginatively configured and set in an environment of tropical gardens, swimming pools, cabanas, lounges, summer kitchens and other recreational areas, making it one of Miami’s most relaxing urban oasis.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

New homes in Coral Gables – Say hello to sleek and modern construction

Coral Gables is well known for their 1920’s and 1950’s feeling. Such feeling comes from its architecture that reflects an enchanted time mix with modern touches. Properties with these characteristics are really appealing for their elegance. However, the market is expanding and attending to the demand of new brand constructions. Most of these homes are under construction, done or what we like to call "spec home”. Also, there are empty lots where the builder will get done a custom home for the buyer. Below you’ll be able to see some the offers we got.

Here is an all-new construction on a tidy lot in highly desirable central Gables. It has an ingenious design & crisp details that are shown on both levels (indoor and outdoor). Has a plus you’ll be able to find a captivatingly light and a bright/airy interior. Also, has a spacious master; formal living & dining rooms. The kitchen is open, so you’ll be more comfortable when you have guests at home. Includes 3 bedrooms and 2 ½ bathrooms. Among other features: covered terrace, balcony and 1-car detached garage.

It is on an amazing walking distance to schools, dining, shops, churches & doctors via pink sidewalks. Highly advisable as a starter home, or for downsizing.

Totally remodeled home. Has new plumbing and electrical systems, external barbeque and washer/dryer. It has been expanded from 1369 sq/ft to 3110 sq/ft. Comes with new impact windows and doors. Totally new kitchen that has stainless steel appliances and a quartz countertop. Has a beautiful solid wood flooring in almost every room. There is marble in the 3 ½ bathrooms. This one sums up to: 4 bedrooms, a family room at 1st floor, a study/TV Room at 2nd Floor and a Master Bed with the covered terrace.

Unforgettable French style home in a highly desired South Gables location. Sophisticated and elegant, this home will feature stone and wood floors. Also, it will have an eat-in kitchen, a 2 car garage, a pool, and an oversized terrace. The floorplan shows wonderful and generous living areas. The master suite will come with a large sitting room and a grand bathroom. This is a very special opportunity by TEAMWORK Group Developers that will set the standard of exceptional design and finishes. Its completion is estimated for fall 2015.

Magnificent 6 bedroom and 6 ½ bathroom brand new construction in highly desired South Gables. Ramon Pacheco designed with volume ceilings, top of the line finishes, marble floors and impact windows & doors. Has a Gourmet kitchen with natural quartzite countertops, wolf & subzero appliances and dual dishwashers. Comes with a gorgeous master suite with a sundeck, a beautiful ensuite bathroom and walk-in closets. As a plus you’ll be able to find a large pool, an outdoor kitchen and a covered terrace.

Great for a big family, giving its spacious areas and location. There are schools (from elementary to high school) close by and it is a safe environment for children.

A guard gated and quiet property. Has its own private waterfront enclave. It is located within 3 minutes of Biscayne Bay and the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean! The seller will custom build this impressive contemporary masterpiece or purchase the lot for $2,499m and build your vision.

This is the lowest priced waterfront lot with a seawall and no bridges to the bay in Coral Gables. Has a deep wide waterway that will accommodate your sailboat or yacht secure. This home is a gated tropical paradise in the heart of Coral Gables.

A fantastic under construction home! It is a luxurious modern living home with more than 9,800 sq/ft. The floorplan shows a 5 bedrooms and 5 1/2 bathrooms structure that will be situated in the prestigious guard-gated Entrada Estates. It will have features such as a 4 car garage, pool, marine storage, private dock and a separate guest house with (1 bedroom and 1 bathroom). It’ll have a welcoming foyer, high-grade designer finishes, lush landscaping, a community tennis court, boat access for easy pick up/drop off, 24 hour security and much more. And as a big plus: Minutes away from Coconut Grove and Brickell.

This home is set on 1.71 lush acres of landscaped Enzo Enea-designed grounds. This luxurious new 7BR, 6.1BA estate with a saltwater pool, private dock and tennis court access is a unique contemporary haven. An architecturally distinctive home by famed Chad Oppenheim architects, boasting 9,105 sq/ft of sleek, sweeping living space graced by an open living/dining/entertaining area. 

Other features: Mia Cucina kitchen, Miele stainless appliances, separate family room, office, library, and large glass doors leading out to the park-like greenery.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Jugo Fresh – Nature in your palate

Within freshness and healthy choices you’ll be able to find yourself with no guilty pleasures. Jugofresh offers pleasures with no boundaries that shows you nature´s way to enhance your body. With different organic ingredients and right to the point mixtures you’ll be able to follow this new trend of eating yummy and modern meals. However, it’s necessary to point their main product: delicious juices. They have been well established in Miami thanks to them and Coral Gables couldn´t be left behind from that treat.

Recently opened in Coral Gables
Jugofresh already has a restaurant in South Miami, close to Dixie Highway, but with their increasing success they have decided to open a new establishment in Ponce de Leon Boulevard. This is an area full of glamour and has a vintage air, that will make you go for calm shopping walk and then for a refreshing lunch. Also, you can jazz up your day with a juice cream, one of their newest products.

Coral Gables finds itself growing with a lot of eating, shopping and recreational options, getting more to offer and to enjoy. This proves nothing more than how right is the decision to live in this area. Among the prices you can find for the condominiums there is wide range that goes from $150K to $400K. While the family homes can vary from the mid $400K up to millions. Most of them are in a walkable distance from Jugofresh, so make sure to eat there, after you check out the properties of the area.

Getting healthier options

This franchise is well known for their variety of juices, but there is more than meets the eye. Their owners are focused on a hard working passionate menu that covers their whole essence with good vibes for your mind and body.

In there you are going to be able to find juices, smoothies, holy waters, salads, parfaits and others. These are all done for a specific effect on your body, which means their ingredients are carefully chosen depending on their properties and flavor. For example, their juice “el green go” is made for kidney cleansing, blood building and anti-inflammatory purposes. Another one with a Spanglish name is the “esta too hot”, which is done for cell-defending and tummy amer. And when it comes to the ingredients of every juice or meal, well, we suggest you to go and find out yourself. 

Organic and produced locally, is the statement they stand by. This makes them a healthy option for the body depending on its needs. Also, it increases the local market and production. Their proposal for a better care of ourselves and organic products adds up more value and a sense of a modern lifestyle to the Coral Gables community.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Coral Gables Rentals under $5,000 per Month

Coral Gables has always been one of Miami-Dade’s nicest and more desirable neighborhoods.  Once you spend some time here (just a day is all it takes), you see why it everyone loves it so much whether traveling through terrific neighborhoods, both new and established, or spending time in phenomenal restaurants and shops along the Miracle Mile.

Real estate in Coral Gables If you are not in the market to buy real estate but want to rent, here are several Coral Gables rentals under $5,000 per month:

1364 Alegriano Avenue, Coral Gables Country Club, Monthly Rent:  $5,000
What a wonderful opportunity to live in one of the most well established, upscale neighborhoods in Coral Gables.  This property, built in 1949, is classic Florida at its very best.  And it is huge – 4,155 square feet – with four bedrooms and four baths not to mention being situated on a corner lot. Inside, you can find ceramic tile floors throughout large and spacious rooms, high ceilings, a fireplace, one-car garage and spacious rooms.  This house is ideal for families and business professionals as it is located just minutes from the Riviera Golf Course and the Biltmore Hotel and Golf Course, and only a short drive from University of Miami.  Coral Gables Country Club is a fabulous neighborhood for families and those who desire space and homes with character but also want to be in a very walkable neighborhood.  Rental rates in Coral Gables Country club range from about $2,000 to $18,000 per month.  As for this property, it is the least expensive Coral Gables Country Club rental on a price per square foot basis at $1.20/square foot.

1170 S Alhambra Circle, Gables Riviera, Monthly Rent:  $5,000
Ideal for a family with in-laws, this is a phenomenal four bedroom, three-bath home in Gables Riviera.  The main house boasts three bedrooms and two baths while the in-law’s suite features one bedroom and one bath on the other side of the garage.  In addition to a huge kitchen, this home has a large master bedroom and closet and tons more closet space throughout the house.  Gables Riviera rentals start at about $2,500 per month and often top $10,000 per month.  There are a handful of properties situated on South Alhambra Circle with this one being one of the more affordable ones as well as right in the middle of the pack overall. Gables Riviera rentals start at about $2,500 per month and often top $10,000 per month.   This one stands out as a top pick with the accents and characteristics found only in homes built during the 1950s and 60s. 

1100 S Alhambra Circle, Gables Riviera, Monthly Rental Rate:  $4,800
As a comparison, this home is situated a block from the previous listing and features just over 2,000 square feet. The house offers a very spacious living area with fireplace as well as an oversized dining room/Florida room combo that opens up to a large kitchen with granite counters, custom wood cabinets and stainless steel appliances.  The split floor plan places a large master in the front of the house and two other bedrooms in the back of the house along with a two-car garage. As another home on a corner lot, this home has been fully remodeled and is surrounded by lush landscaping. Like the aforementioned home, UM and excellent shopping are very close.

217 San Sebastian Avenue, Gables Craft, Monthly Rental Rate:  $4,800

411 Vittorio Avenue, Gables Rivera, Monthly Rental Rate:  $4,700

1123 Sorolla Avenue, Gables Granada, Monthly Rental Rate:  $4,700

There are tons of options for Coral Gables rentals whether single-family home or condominium all offering tons of space and amenities.  Coral Gables is a wonderful city rich in history and things to do – perfect for families, single adults, retirees and pretty much anyone who wants to live here.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Biltmore Parc – More Luxury Condominiums Come to Coral Gables

In February it was announced that Biltmore Parc, a new luxury Coral Gables condominium, would begin construction this summer.  In a more recent Miami-Herald article, it was stated that Biltmore Parc would begin construction in June and be ready to unveil in December 2016.  Here is some general information about Biltmore Parc.

The Basics of Biltmore Parc
The plans for Biltmore Parc show a five-story condominium with 32 luxury residences ranging in size from a little over 1,700 square feet to a little over 2,500 square feet.  Located just a mile from the Biltmore Hotel and a few blocks from the Miracle Mile, Biltmore Parc is situated in a pristine location in the heart of Coral Gables. 

Biltmore Parc’s Mediterranean-modern design will be developed by Alirio Torrealba and United Developers Miami with the architecture under the helm of Bellin & Pratt Architects. Interior design will be handled by Avazanto Design, a premiere Miami design firm that has designed commercial, residential and mixed-used properties all over the world including The Jewelry Boutique in Coconut Grove along with restaurants and other condominiums. 

Amenities at Biltmore Parc
Just like other luxury Coral Gables condominiums, the fixtures, finishes and amenities at Biltmore Parc will be top of the line.  From a full-time concierge to assigned parking, private elevators that open into each unit and NanaWalls folding glass walls that create an indoor/outdoor space with the balcony and living area, no expense will be spared.  Inside each unit, owners can expect to find 10-foot high ceilings, a European-style kitchen, baths with separate showers and baths and laundry rooms in each unit.  Oh and the condominium is pet-friendly. The best part is that with each sale, a one-year membership to the Biltmore Hotel for swimming, events and the spa.

Real Estate at Biltmore Parc
The 32 units in the boutique style Biltmore Parc consists of large two and three-bedroom units.  List prices currently start at $950K and climb to $1.6 million.  At this point, the information for the real estate at Biltmore Parc is very basic.  There are several units listed for sale.

More to Come

Coral Gables is such a beautiful place to live.  And, it looks like Biltmore Parc is going to add to the exclusivity of living in a luxurious Coral Gable condominium.  As more information comes available, we will report it here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Classic Coral Gables Home Listings Built in the 1920s

Established in the 1920s during the land boom in Florida, Coral Gables has a claim to fame of being one of the first planned communities in Florida.  The city covered almost 10,000 acres with the architectural design being Mediterranean Revival throughout the city.  Following the boom, the market went bust (sound familiar?) and its founder, George Merrick, lost everything but the ancestral home.

Over the course of several decades, the home, called Merrick Manor, went through several hands and was occupied by different types of occupants.  Since about 1976, it has been in the hands of the City of Coral Gables which restored it to its 1925 style with décor, fixtures and finishes because it “best represented the Merrick family,” according to a recently featured article in Curbed Miami and is open twice a week for tours.

This got us thinking about Coral Gables real estate and how it has changed over the years.  While there are many new construction homes that have replaced some of the original homes built in the 1920s, there are still those that stand out as original Coral Gables properties with the unique characteristics of the architectural design. Here are five Coral Gables homes listed for sale and built in the early to mid-1920s that reflect the design of properties during that era while featuring modernized upgrades on the interiors that make these homes spectacular and ideal for those who love the uniqueness to original “old Florida” style.

920 Coral Way, List Price:  $2,495,000
This gorgeous home located just very short distance from the Coral Gables Merrick House consists of the best of the old with truly modern updates.  Built by George Merrick in 1922, this historically designated house is constructed with coral rock and still has the original hardwood floors, terracotta tile floors and other classic details along with newer, remodeled upgrades like a fabulous walk-in closet, new kitchen with updated stainless steel appliances and so much more.  A screened-in porch that runs the across the rear of the house features exposed coral rock walls and posts with the terracotta tile floor and the original tongue and groove plank ceiling. On top of this, in addition to four bedrooms and four baths includes a library with a wet bar, large living and dining rooms, and a Florida room just off the kitchen and family room.  One really nice attribute is the pool house (with bath) that accommodates guests. The entire property encompasses three lots and is filled with tropical landscaping and fruit trees.

1046 Almeria Avenue, List Price:  $999,000
This Spanish-style villa, built in 1923, features the epitome of “classic Florida” with a two-bedroom, two-bath main house and a one-bedroom, one-bath guest residence above the garage.  Situated on a 10,000+ square foot corner lot, the home was designed by renowned architect, Walter DeGarmo and features the original Dade County pine and terracotta floors throughout the house as well as modern upgrades and remodels to bring the house to its updated state.  These updates include a fabulous chef style kitchen, a large master bedroom with unbelievable closet space and a master bath, and impact-resistant windows and doors.  In the back is a wonderfully large brick-paver patio perfect for entertaining.  The location is just one block to Salvadore Park and only a short walk (or drive) to the Biltmore Hotel.
1248 Aguila Avenue, List Price:  $568,000
Located in one of Coral Gables most established neighborhoods, this Gables Granada house was built in 1924 and features the best of both worlds in terms of old and new.  The home recently went through a huge remodel to update while still keeping the unique charm of this original Gables home.  It offers two bedrooms, one bath and an artist studio with a wall of arched windows as well as beautiful wood floors, a living room with a wood-burning fireplace, and a family/sunroom.  The kitchen and bath have been totally remodeled with contemporary fixtures and cabinets and stainless steel appliances.  A loggia opens up to a beautiful courtyard and patio.  This is a truly spectacular home.  Real estate listings in Gables Granada feature list prices starting as low as the mid-$400s and climbing into the millions.  This is a fantastic neighborhood for families.
1232 Palermo Avenue, List Price:  $1,499,000
This is a 3,600+ square foot home built in 1924 and located in the Coral Gables Country Club neighborhood.  It showcases a Spanish-style architectural design with lots of room to house the five bedrooms and four baths.  The main floor has a split floor plan with two master bedrooms one featuring a spa-style master bath with marble walls and floors and a large walk-in closet.  Original hardwood floors have been refinished and other rooms have been modernized and updated.  The rear of the home opens to a beautiful pool area with brick paver deck and lots of lush landscaping that spreads over the entire 12,000+ square foot lot.
1416 Medina Avenue, List Price:  $689,000
This home screams history as it is one of the original homes built by George Merrick in 1925.  It offer three bedrooms and two baths under almost 2,000 square feet as well as a detached garage that easily be transformed into a perfect in-law’s suite or pool house.  Inside, there are travertine and tigerwood floors throughout and a large recently remodeled gourmet kitchen with stainless steel appliances, custom cabinets and granite counter tops not to mention new contemporary baths – the master bath has marble, and a Jacuzzi tub.  The master bedroom includes a walk-in closet and pool access. On top of that, there is new central A/C and a new garage roof.
Everything Under One Roof
There is nothing like history kept in its original state even when you want to remodel or update property.  In the neighborhoods within a short radius of The Merrick House showcase so many homes like this that feature everything under one roof.  When considering a home in Coral Gables, be sure to consider the older homes as they have the character of classic Florida combined with newer upgrades in terms of appliances and all the conveniences of modern day.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Choices Café – A Choice Location in Coral Gables

Vegan seems to be more than just a fad.  Whether it is because of health reasons or simply a preference, everywhere you go more and more people prefer a vegan menu. And in Miami, that means only one place – Choices Café.  And now, Choices has finally come to Coral Gables.  Opened since January, this place has become a favorite to those who know about it as well as anyone who stumbles upon it. 

Centrally Located in Coral Gables
Voted top vegan restaurant in Miami, the owners of Choice Café said in a Miami New Times article they chose Coral Gables for a location because “so many people begged them to open here.”  Ponce de Leon Boulevard (2626 Ponce de Leon Boulevard) is the perfect spot for this Miami favorite (just off the Miracle Mile) that features a detailed fare that is “100 percent vegan and 95 percent organic.”  Even those who do not profess to be vegans (or vegetarians for that matter) always find time to stop in any of the three locations to have a snack or meal. 

Real estate in the area around Choices Café is predominately condominiums as it is situated in the middle of the business district of Coral Gables.  List prices start in the mid to upper-$200s at Ten Aragon; the mid-$300s at Gables Tower Condo; and, the mid-$400s at Ponce Tower. These condos are considered to be very “walkable” as they are centrally located to the Miracle Mile and the businesses around it. Even neighborhoods like Gables Granada and Coral Gables Country Club are close enough that residents can make a plan to walk to Choices, enjoy a healthy meal and walk home – you can’t get much better than that! For single family homes in these neighborhoods, list prices start in the low to mid-$400s and climb into the multi-millions. 

Coming Soon to Coconut Grove
June seems to be the target month for another “choice location” for Choices Café if the permits and zoning come thorough.  Just like the Gables location, the owners say that they “didn't choose the Grove, the Grove chose us. That's kind of how we operate; we let the universe guide us," in a recent Miami New Times article.  The location in an historical building on McFarlane Road is the brainchild of a Choices customer who owns the building.  This location has a huge front patio which is ideal for a restaurant like this one. 

Mutiny Park Condo and Sonesta Coconut Grove are situated on McFarlane Road and feature units starting in the mid to upper-$300s.  Just a couple of blocks away and within a short walk of McFarlane Road are Yacht Harbour Villas and Lofts at Mayfair with units also starting in the mid to upper-$300s. 

What to Eat
The favorites seem to be the Mental Lentil and Kind Slam as well as their smoothies and the No Capitan Wrap.  The menu is large enough that you can easily eat there several days a week to try everything and discover your favorites.  Some say it is a little pricey but for an organic, vegan fresh meal, it isn’t too pricey. 

More Healthy Options 
If there were more healthy options like Choices Café, maybe we would be a lot healthier.  But for now, we’ll just have to enjoy one of the three Choices locations and patiently wait until the summer for the fourth one to open in the Grove.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Small Tea – Coral Gables Newest Tea Room

Whenever anyone from the UK has something that is consuming their thoughts or day, they typically like to “have a cup of tea” while they figure things out.  They always have tea in the afternoon and at night.  For them, tea is a part of their daily existence.

This tradition seems to have come across the Atlantic.  Although tea is now touted as a miracle elixir for the body, it is also very relaxing to sit down and have a cup of tea.  And there is no place better to have that tea than at Small Tea in Coral Gables.

Small Tea is a relatively new café on Aragon Avenue just off Ponce de Leon Boulevard and only a block off the Miracle Mile.  It is a modern twist on a classic tea room that offers a wide selection of popular and rare teas as well as a delicious menu filled with breakfast, lunch desserts and snack options that go perfectly with their teas.  From the basics like English Breakfast Tea to an absolute decadent Matcha tea, there is something for everyone. 

One of the most appealing features of Small Tea is the way that people simply want to go there.  In addition to simply serving tea and food, they have board games and cards so that people can enjoy an hour (and buy more tea) relaxing with a game of Scrabble or a good game of Gin Rummy.  There is also a smelling bar where anyone can smell different teas to help decide which one to choose. 

Coral Gables has an eclectic feel to it where people love to come and meander around the Miracle Mile.  Small Tea adds the perfect ambiance to the neighborhood either as a way to start your day or a little late afternoon pick me up to finish the day.

Much of the charm of living in the Gables is that everything is within walking distance.  Whether living in a close by neighborhood or in a condominium, being able to walk everywhere makes living here so enjoyable. 

Condominiums feature a broad spectrum of list prices from those starting in the low to mid-$200s at the David William Hotel/Condo to well over $1 million at Segovia Tower.  Mid-priced condos like Coral Gables Tower, 55 Merrick and others offer properties from the mid-$300s and to the mid-$700s or higher. 

As for Coral Gables single-family home neighborhoods, there are several within walking distance (a little more than a block or two).  Most list prices start in the mid-$300s and climb to the multi-millions. 

Small Tea caters to tea lovers of which many live in the Miami-Dade area.  The reviews are stellar – locals love that there is a great place to get tea in Coral Gables. One local said that Smart Tea is “A petite dim lighted place near a corner in Ponce de Leon, not in the mainstream avenue, but in a place that at first sight could look as behind the action, just nailed it” when rating it on Yelp.  

The café is also bringing people out from Miami who want to sit and, you guessed it – have a cup of tea saying that   “OK, this is probably the coolest place that has opened up in Coral Gables in years!!!”

If you love tea and have not been to Small Tea, make sure you visit.  We promise you will come back almost every day!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Nutrition Empire -- Welcome to the Neighborhood

To be positioned on the same block as Epicure Gourmet Market is what most any small retailer wants when opening up shop in a new location and that is just what happened to Nutrition Empire.  Located in the newly built Gables Ponce apartment complex on Ponce de Leon Boulevard, Nutrition Empire is in a position to succeed. 

Nutrition Empire is situated on the ground floor of the newly built phase of Gables Ponce – a new apartment complex on the corner of Ponce de Leon and Granello Avenue. The location is ideal for this health and nutrition specialty store as it is just one block from the Village at Merrick Park and Equinox Fitness in addition to being less than a mile from the University of Miami. It features nutritional supplements and health and wellness products as well as offers superb customer service by trained athletes who have are very well educated in nutrition and healthy living. 

Growing Part of Coral Gables
Most often, when you think of Coral Gables, the Miracle Mile is the first thing that pops into your head but as real estate development continues to expand, the neighborhoods and condominiums around this part of the Gables is primed and ready to grow.  Gables Ponce is an upscale apartment community built in three phases of which the first two are completed and the third is in the works.  It offers residents five-star living in a resort-like atmosphere with high end fixtures and finishes in each apartment as well as community amenities on par with most tropical resorts. 

In addition to Gables Ponce, the Residences of  Merrick Park, another apartment community, is just a block away and provides the same type of luxury apartment living.  This community is comprised of one, two and three-bedroom apartments that are open and airy with nice, spacious balconies to enjoy Florida breezes. 

AVIVA is yet another luxury apartment rental community that is situated on the other side of The Village at Merrick Park.  It has the same tropical feel that Gables Ponce and Residences of Merrick Park have and gives residents the ability to live in high end residences.      

For those who wish to own Coral Gables real estate in this vicinity, the area is 
primarily comprised of single-family home neighborhoods with multi-family housing mixed into the areas.  List prices for homes start in the mid to upper-$400s for homes in Gables Rivera and Coral Gables Country Club neighborhoods and climb into the millions.  As for condominiums, One Village Place is a short walk and features list prices between the mid-$300s and about $600K.  There are several condominiums with properties ranging in the low to mid-$200s to $500K at condominiums like Villa Capri and University Inn Condo located a short drive away.

Coming Alive
One telltale sign that an area is truly coming alive is the retailers that set up shop there.  With high-end markets like Epicure and the shops opening in the Village at Merrick Park, the area around Gables Ponce is destined to continue to show growth.

As for now, residents who are very conscious about their health are so glad to see Nutrition Empire open up to help them make smart choices for nutrition – before and after they work out at Equinox.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tips for Buying Coral Gables Vacation Property

The Florida real estate market has come back with a vengeance and is clipping along at a fantastic pace.  Prior to the market collapse, many were seriously considering buying vacation homes.  Those who bought at the time have already reaped the rewards of increased value to the property they purchased while others decided to wait.   For those who waited, the dream of owning a vacation home is back on this list of possibilities. 

If you are ready to dive into the home buying waters and considering a vacation home, here are several tips for buying Coral Gables vacation property to make sure you make an informed decision:

Decide How You Want to Use It.  The first thought that comes to mind when buying a vacation home is to decide how you want to use it.  Do you want to keep it strictly as a home for you to stay at your discretion (your friends too) or do you want to buy a vacation home as a rental investment?  In this part of Florida, there is a huge market for rental property especially during the winter when the “snowbirds” fly south to escape the cold – the past couple of winters in the winter have been brutal.   It is common for vacation home owners to only use their property for as little as a couple of months a year so the idea of using it as rental property may be a great way to make it more affordable.

Choose the Type of Property.  Prior to buying a vacation home, you need to choose the type of property you want – single-family or condominium.  Much of this is based on whether you want to use it as a vacation rental.  Coral Gables condominiums and single family homes are always appealing to second home buyers because of the rental potential.  There are several advantages to owning vacation property in condominiums including the ability to put your property in a vacation management pool within the condominium for greater rental possibilities and built-in amenities like a pool, a marina, reserved and valet parking and more. Single-family homes draw those who want more privacy and an atmosphere similar to being at home.

Rent First.  Before you buy a vacation home, be sure that you rent in the neighborhoods or condominiums in which you are interested.  You can speak firsthand about staying there to potential guests and decide if you will enjoy your time there.  Renting always helps you know your likes and dislikes.  

Ask About the Rental History.  If you are considering a second home for investment purposes, ask about the rental history.  You want to know what you are getting with your investment.  For properties that have not been used as rental property, you can look at comparable properties that do have rental histories to see the potential income.

Consider the Additional Financial Obligation.  A second home will have additional financial obligations especially at the beginning.  That is why it is important to know a general idea of the expenses that accompany your new home – initial expenses during the purchase as well as the monthly expenses that any homeowner pays, taxes and insurance.   Even if you buy a second home with an established rental history, rental income typically does not cover ALL of the expenses involved. 

Work with a Local, Experienced Realtor®.  Probably the best thing anyone thinking about buying Coral Gables vacation property is to work with a local, experienced and Florida licensed Realtor®.  A Realtor® that knows which neighborhoods or condominiums best meet your needs as a resident (and rental property owner) provide you with a wealth of information and knowledge to help you make an informed decision. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Top Five Coral Gables Real Estate Sales in 2014

In the years immediately following the recession, the most expensive properties listed for sale simply sat there.  Finally, 2014 saw a big upswing in the real estate market and that meant the mammoth residential properties were part of the mix.  Here are the top five CoralGables real estate sales in 2014:

41 Arvida Parkway, Gables Estates, Sale Price:  $25,000,000
Yes – this property seems to set the record for the largest residential real estate sale in Coral Gables at $25 million.  Set on a corner lot facing Biscayne Bay and Key Biscayne, this property is luxury at its very finest.  It has a large dock that accommodates large vessels and offers a wide deep canal on one side with the Bay on the other side.  Sold in June 2014, there is absolutely no stone left unturned with this home.  In terms of the details, the home has nine bedrooms and eight and a half baths under 13,000+ square feet.  The sale price per square foot was $1,843 – which is pretty typical in Gables Estates.  So if you wonder what $25 million buys you in Miami-Dade County, here you go. By the way, the property was sold furnished. 

4 Tahiti Beach Island, Tahiti Beach Island, Sale Price: $18,000,000
As the second most expensive Coral Gables property sold in 2014, we mentioned this property in a blog in September 2013.  This 21,000+ square foot home sold in July for $18 million ($848/square foot).  And we can tell you, it has everything any home of this caliber should have.  It sits on the most beautiful Bayfront lot with the most amazing views of water.  And inside this palatial estate is as beautiful with a huge chef’s kitchen, high ceilings, media room with theatre seating, and so much more.  On top of all this, it features a large deep water dock that accommodates large vessels and a private Tahiti Beach is probably Coral Gables most exclusive neighborhood with a guard gated private entrance and even more privacy with individual secure gated entrances.  Homes may take slightly longer to sell as they attract a specific buyer.  In 2014, there were two home sales in Tahiti Beach.  This property took a little over a year to sell.  Currently, there is one property for sale in Tahiti Beach listed at less than half of this one although the price per square foot is comparable. 

5 Tahiti Beach Island Road, Tahiti Beach, Sale Price: $11,500,000
July was a big month for home sales in Tahiti Beach!  Next door to the previous listing is another top sale of 2014.  This home is a gorgeous Mediterranean style home has the most luxurious features throughout the home from the marble and hardwood floors to the enormous gourmet kitchen to the elegant pool area that rivals any five-star resort.  There is no detail that is omitted at this estate.  It also sits on a private lagoon that opens up to Biscayne Bay giving its residents all the privacy they want.  As for the details, the property features nine bedrooms and 11 baths under 11,500+ square feet and sold for $954/square foot.  When comparing this one and the other property that sold this year, the only current Tahiti Beach property for sale has a list price per square foot that falls in the middle of the two sold properties.

444 Arvida Parkway, Gables Estates, Sale Price:  $9,000,000
Gables Estates is a much higher priced neighborhood when comparing neighborhoods on a sale price per square foot basis.  This home is no exception at $1,045 per square foot.  Taking about a year to sell, the 8,613-square foot has five bedrooms and six and a half baths. It is open and airy, and sits on the widest lagoon in Gables Estates with direct access into the Bay.  High-end appliances and luxury details make it obvious why it made the top five list.  Currently there are 10 properties for sale in Gables Estates with list prices from about $8 million to almost $20 million – the price per square foot ranging from about $675 to over $1,800 per square foot.  It is worth noting that the most affordable on a price per square foot basis is a new home still under construction although it is not a waterfront property. 

200 Leucadendra Drive, Gables Estates, Sale Price:  $8,500,000
Driving through the gates of this gorgeous 9,180 square-foot Mediterranean estate is breathtaking.  Located in Gables Estates, the eight-bedroom, seven-bath home was fifth most expensive Gables residential sale in 2014.  Like the others, it has the most beautiful finishes including marble and wood flooring, great built-ins, and tons of green space.  Best of all, the lot is large (47,000 square feet) and includes 240 feet of water with no bridges to the Bay.  The sale reflected a slightly lower price per square foot compared to other sales in Gables Estates at $954 per square foot and took just over eight months to sell. 

The past year was finally the shot in the arm we all needed as the real estate market really showed its muscle.  Now we see that 2015 is already showing it may continue on its upward course as six $1 million-dollar plus Coral Gables real estate sales have already taken place since the start of the year.  

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