Mellow In North Miami

Perhaps this North Miami development should be called Ol instead of OLA Condominiums. With prices for 1 bed/1 1/2 bath apartments starting in the $120,000’s and 2 bed/2 bath units from the $160,000’s, this new condo conversion is targeting buyers who want homes that won’t break the bank.

So what do they get for their money? A completely renovated community (the former Palm Court Apartments) in North Dade, located east of 1-95, with 144-units ranging from 800 to 1,000 square feet. Developer Stephen Vecchitto, of Advenir, an Aventura-based full service real estate company, says that OLA will be a pet-friendly property and landscaped oasis with courtyards around ancient trees. Amenities include a swimming pool, barbecue/picnic areas and a clubhouse/media center with wireless Internet access. Covered parking and storage units are also available. Interior features include redone kitchens and bathrooms, large walk-in closets, and private balconies. Upgrade packages for granite countertops, wood cabinets, etc. are also available. The Advenir sales office, headed by Arden Karson, is on site at 15205 NE Sixth Ave., North Miami.

Building on the Boulevard

Miami’s Morningside antique emporium is history. In its place is a polished pair of mid-rise towers called Domain Upper Eastside. The six- and eight-story buildings at 6443 Biscayne Blvd. are being developed by GREC/LUIS LTD, a partnership between General Real Estate Corp (GREC), which has completed and sold more than 7,000 homes and multifamily units in Miami-Dade County, and Luis Development, headed by Michael Luis, known for projects ranging from retail and office centers to the recently-completed Villaggio in the Grove Villas and Tower Residences.

Domain will be an urban community with a choice of 68 living spaces ranging from 740 to 2,000 square feet in 3-bedroom double-height lofts, 2- and 3-bedroom flats and 2-bedroom townhomes with private garden entrances. A natural bamboo garden links the complex’s two buildings designed by Miami architect Alex “Alejandro” Santa Maria of Vertex. Amenities include the expected sleek kitchens and bathrooms plus European closet systems and high-speed Internet and cable connections.

There is undercover parking, an on-site business center, social room, and cardio center plus a rooftop pool and landscaped seating areas offering views of Biscayne Bay. The 14-acre Legion Memorial Park, which stretches from the Boulevard to the Bay, is on the north side of Domain Upper Eastside. Prices start in the $200,000’s and go up to the $600,000’s.

A Star on the Sands of North Beach

Nice to know that a new Miami Beach condominium property has made it into the top 10 places mentioned in Forbes’ feature story “Where We Want To Live In 2006.”

The list includes such mega-projects, as Donald Trump’s new $125 million Palm Beach estate and Ian Schrager’s almost completed Gramercy Park in New York where some $10 million spreads are on offer. Canyon Ranch Living – Miami Beach makes the cut because of its deluxe spa services in a 70,000-square-foot Canyon Ranch Spa as well as the luxurious amenities, common to the 10 listed, that take luxury living upward into a hedonistic fantasy land.

Canyon Ranch Living – Miami Beach includes a hotel-condominium and 150 hotel suites on the former Carillon site. Residences in the first three towers sold out more than a year ago, so only resales are available, according to Kevin Tomlinson at Esslinger Wooten Maxwell, but there is a fourth tower planned for an adjacent piece of property. Condominiums in Canyon Ranch’s North Tower are priced from $1.2 million to $9 million.

The Hard Hats Are Back

Hard hats and shovel pictures have been thin on the ground lately, could that indicate a slowdown in development, or just post-holiday seasonal blahs? Well, at last the requisite VIP lineup has turned up and Groundwork welcomes the opportunity to celebrate an iconic Miami image. (And so much more interesting than those other essential Miami icons, construction cranes!) The occasion: Groundbreaking for Wind by Neo Epoch, the first gated community in Downtown Miami. Billed as an urban oasis on 13.5 acres with 900 linear feet of Riverwalk on the north side of the Miami River at the intersection of Miami Avenue and Southwest Third Street, Wind will feature a boulevard lined with cafes, retail, and 489 residences all designed by Miami architect Luis Revuelta of Revuelta, Vega, Leon P.A. Developers are Lissette Calderon, CEO of Neo and Antonio Cabrera Jr., president of the Epoch Corporation.

Golf View Anyone?

Well-priced residences are out there if buyers know where to look. Go west for Prestige Builders Partners, new Las Vistas at Doral, where 1-bed/1-bath units of 710 to 810 square feet starting at $173,900 and 2-bed/2-bath condos ranging from 992 to 1,197 square feet are in the affordable ball park. Amenities include four resort-style pools and hot tubs, four tennis courts, racquetball courts, a 2-story fitness center. There is also an entertaining and recreational clubhouse, a business and media center, and a conference room. There are even views of the famed Doral Golf Course from many balconies. The sales center and models are on site at 8140 Geneva Court, easily accessible from the Palmetto Expressway, I-75 and Florida’s Turnpike.

Helen Hill is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and lifestyle topics.

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