Million Dollar Momentum

Miami Dade’s super luxury homes are hitting new highs these days with record prices such as the $20.6 million, paid last week by Miguel B. Mike Fernandez, owner and CEO of CarePlus Medical Centers, for a waterfront estate at 1 Arvida Parkway in Gables Estates, on the market for only 71 days. The buyer also chipped in another $6.25 million for the acre-plus lot next door. Sellers were Richard and Susan Newhauser. Broker: Audrey Ross of Esslinger Wooten Maxwell.

A few days earlier Mitchell Rubinson’s estate, a 10,000-square-foot house plus 2,000-square-foot coach house at 40 E. Star Island Drive, sold for $15 million. A 11,000 square foot Italian-style Villa Luna, described as a mini-Vizcaya replete with marble and stone and “no fake anything,” sits on 2.5 waterfront acres amid banyan trees, royal palms, and moss-draped live oaks. The house, a favorite Hollywood movie location was listed by the original broker two years ago at $23 million and re-listed last November again at $23 million. Buyer is telecom tycoon Yesil Engin, CEO of Radiant Holdings, the nation’s largest privately owned telecom company, and his wife Ayesha. Broker Eddy Chabli of Oceanfirst Realty Inc. in Miami Beach closed the deal.

According to Kevin Tomlinson, a broker in EWM’s Miami Beach office on 41st Street, pricey homes are actively selling. “I see confidence returning after a shaky 2003; the market for pristine, magazine-quality properties is catching up quickly,” he said. “The amount of money exchanging hands for high-end properties in the month of January is incredible.”

The million dollar homes frenzy continues to be sparked by a variety of buyers especially local people in their 40’s who are doing very well; out-of-town buyers from Europe and South America; and a slew of celebrities who value the South Florida vibe.

Miami Beach’s waterfront homes on exclusive Biscayne Bay islands and at prime addresses such as North Bay Road and La Gorce Island are hot and moving in the market quite quickly. Recent home sales in those areas have pulled in prices ranging from $ 4.85 million for 2156 North Bay Road, as of January 16, to last November’s sale of Tommy Mottola’s home on West Star Island to Sean P. Diddy Combs for $14.5 million.

The Lakeview area, west of Pine Tree Drive, is on the radar screen with new price points such as the 5,931 square foot home on more than an acre at 5005 Lakeview Drive, listed in December selling for about $3 million.

Homes now being listed reflect the upward trend with prices on North Bay Road alone ranging from $2.9 million to around $10 million. Tomlinson is offering a 1928 vintage architecturally-significant villa of 3,900 square feet with 105 feet waterfront at 4412 North Bay Road, for $3.45 million, and Oceanfirst’s Chabli has just listed his own 9,000 square foot home with 115 feet on Biscayne Bay at 5002 North Bay Road, (with Ricky Martin as a neighbor) for $8.9 million.

The demand for “teardowns” on open bay lots is also rising at breakneck pace with standard lots of 15,000 -17,000 square feet on North Bay Road now valued in excess of $3 million. Almost two acres on Indian Creek Island (at 15 Indian Creek Drive), which was listed last July for $10.5 million, sold this month for the $7 million land value.

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