June 15, 2017
Real estate maven Alicia Cervera Lamadrid saw the bright lights of Brickell and downtown before there was a big city.
Miami-raised realtor Alicia Cervera Lamadrid
There may not be a person who can sell Miami better than Alicia Cervera Lamadrid, but that’s because she was buying city life before it even existed. Born in Havana and raised in Miami, the managing partner of Cervera Real Estate (founded by her mother, Alicia Sr.) fell in love with the Brickell/downtown area when it was just a dream. “I could see that avenue filled with all the buildings, and I could see the excitement of the people walking up and down and leaving the basketball games,” Cervera Lamadrid recalls, envisioning a different kind of downtown decades earlier. “I could totally just feel it.”
As a child, her mother would take her through the empty lots on Brickell Avenue handing her a hard-boiled egg as a snack, and she was immediately hooked on city life. “I never realized a picnic required a blanket until years later,” she says. Then, as an adult, Cervera Lamadrid raised two children of her own at The Imperial (a Cervera Real Estate property), where tennis and swimming lessons took place at the condo. “If you want to have a polite kid, raise them in a condominium, because they have to say hello and good-bye and they can’t run through the lobby or do cannonballs in the swimming pool,” she notes.
Sculptured columns marking the entrance of Icon Brickell
Now, with her office in Brickell, Cervera Lamadrid dines at Perricone’s Marketplace & Café—a restaurant she credits with being on the forefront of the Brickell movement—or holds an afternoon meeting over drinks and appetizers at PM Fish & Steak House. Mostly, though, she enjoys being among the people. “I enjoy the walk down Brickell Avenue—five or six people deep on the street corner,” she says. “I remember this place when it was just a ghost town. Now, it’s almost like a transitive park, if you will. It has all the trees and the cafés. It’s like magic.”
Every now and then, Cervera Lamadrid enjoys a trip down memory lane, so she’ll go to Simpson Park and soak in the city in all its glory. “One hundred years of history can be discovered on the corner of South Miami Avenue, with Simpson Park reminding what it was at the beginning before anything was built,” she says. “A clear shot of beautiful Brickell residential history from the surviving mansions of South Miami Avenue to the beautiful high-rises and the Four Seasons Hotel to the east. Look north and you have a selection of restaurants that starts with Cuban cuisine and takes you around the world representing Miami’s rich and diversified culture."
The garden center in historic Simpson Park
She knew from childhood that she was here to stay, and so does her daughter—a third generation living in Brickell who has eyes on what’s next.
“On any given day, the three of us will be having lunch or dinner together talking about the next great building that’s coming to the area,” says Cervera Lamadrid, who gets her morning coffee with her mother and daughter at La Provence. “It’s very special.”
photography by gary james