Walk north of 20th Street on South Beach’s Collins Avenue and the sidewalks seem to widen, the crowds thin, and a newly redone, leafy stretch of land beckons: Collins Park is a calm, ordered contrast to the often-chaotic street scene to the south. As the next 12 months bring more housing on-stream, this particular neighborhood is due to become the next hot place to live and play on the Beach. House-hunters have taken note, quickly snatching up 80 properties in the neighborhood through mid-August of this year, compared to just 79 during all of 2010.
A host of starchitect buildings already surrounds Collins Park itself. A Robert A.M. Stern-designed Miami-Dade Public Library and Arquitectonica’s Miami City Ballet studios sit across from the elegant 1930 Russell Pancoast-designed structure now housing the Bass Museum of Art, which received a new wing by Arata Isozaki in 2001.
The area’s renaissance began in 2005, when the 40-story Setai debuted a block north of the Shore Club and Mynt Lounge. The stunning condo-hotel sold seven of its mostly million-dollar-plus apartments in the first half of this year, ranging from $980,000 to $4.6 million. And one-bedroom units here rent at prices starting at $6,000 per month.
“The Setai was so isolated. Now there’s a community there,” observes star broker-associate Jill Hertzberg of Coldwell Banker. First in was 2009’s Yabu Pushelberg-designed W South Beach, featuring a Bliss Spa, Mr Chow restaurant and the developer Aby Rosen’s own Damien Hirsts, Warhols and Basquiats adorning the lobby. In the first half of 2011, six apartments sold in the building, spanning $688,000 to $3.3 million. Hinting at the role Brazilian buyers are playing both in Miami’s real estate renaissance in general and specifically at The Residences at W South photographs by greg clark (gansevoort); Jesse D avid Harris (w south beach) Coldwell Banker Beach, its website offers Portuguese as one of its language options.
Across Collins Avenue, the 52-apartment Boulan South Beach (“where scene meets sanctuary,” complete with meditation garden and spa-style baths) opened this year, and is already 20 percent sold at prices ranging from $400,000 to $1 million. No word yet on the $4.2 million penthouse, but hopes are high. The “game-changer” in the neighborhood, however, according to Coldwell Banker Realtor (and Jill’s son) Danny Hertzberg, lies in two additional properties. New ownership at the Gansevoort Miami Beach has resulted in complete renovation of its 259 condos, with the goal of attracting hundreds of moneyed young buyers. And behind the Bass Museum of Art, Artécity offers 202 apartments and townhouses about three blocks from the redhot Mokaï nightclub. Hertzberg predicts a surge of retail and dining on the stretch of 23rd Street connecting the two properties. From where we sit, it’ll be fun to watch.