Why Boats And Helicopters Are Driving Miami’s Real Estate Market

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Keeping your home above water is important in more ways than one.

Whether it’s a private dock, bijoux slip or membership to a nearby marina and fancy sailing club, properties that bring boating directly to your front door are now at a premium (up to 20% say some analysts). And nowhere more so than in South Florida, where private boat facilities are appearing at choice condo towers, boutique developments and grand estates citywide.

“Miami’s real estate market is booming, but what is truly unprecedented is the demand for boat slips,” said Michael Martirena of the Ivan and Mike Team at Compass. “The hottest real estate out there now is a boat slip,” added Filippo Incorvaia, founder of FI Real Estate Brokerage. “Miami is starting to rival Monaco for the prices, allure and nautical prestige.”

Take a current Martirena listing at the Turnberry Ocean Club in Sunny Isles, Fla. The three-bedroom, four-bathroom condo, currently priced at $6.2 million, not only comes with nearly 3,000 square feet of living space, the move-in ready condo also includes coveted (and complimentary!) docking privileges at Turnberry Marina.

Set right on North Miami’s Intracoastal Waterway, the highly secured, ipe wood-clad facility can accommodate 68 vessels sized up to 160 feet in length.

The Ocean Club home also comes with priority access and VIP services at the nearby Fontainebleau Aviation in the Opa-Locka Executive Airport, just in case you need to jet after you boat. “Because if you’ve got a yacht,” said Martirena, “chances are you also need access to a private airport.”

The focus on boating access extends beyond just Sunny Isles. Down in Miami Beach, a new 10-story, 50-unit project on ultra-posh Fisher Island not only includes a marquee, $55 million ground-floor villa with a half-acre backyard, but also its own docking facility for superyachts. Developed by “condo king” Jorge Perez’s Related Group, the project complements Fisher Island’s existing Vanderbilt Marina, which can accommodate up to 100 vessels.

Meanwhile, about 30 miles north, the newly revealed MarinaVista in Pompano Beach is part of a wave of high-end development in this still low-key area between Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale.

Developed by the Chetrit Group in New York, MarinaVista — which sits between the Atlantic and Intracoastal – includes 121 total residences comprised of 12 lanai townhomes, 15 waterfront lofts and 94 two- to three-bedroom condominiums, all ranging from 1,400 to 3,500 square feet.  They’re designed by Kobi Karp, whose tropical luxe imprimatur can be found on many of the most sought-after developments in South Florida.

Along with prime waterfront views from nearly every angle, Marina Vista features a full-service, elegantly designed marina with room for 25 lucky vessels. The prime al-fresco amenity is part of a bustling promenade complete with high-end shops and dining spots — there’s even a groovy dock-and-dine concept in the works.

The Intracoastal is also integral to another newcomer with private dock access, Olara West Palm Beach, which will feature a 30,000-square-foot dining and marketplace venue along with a private marina with a boating concierge. Developed by Savanna, the project’s striking, metal-clad aesthetic comes courtesy of Arquitectonica, the Miami-based architecture firm which kick-started the Magic City’s stylish condo rebirth nearly 30 years ago.

Back in Miami, developer Ian Bruce Eichner — whose Continuum Company helped establish South Beach’s SoFi district two decades ago — has returned to the market with La Baia North Bay Harbour, a condo development in North Miami close to ultra-exclusive Bal Harbour. The two- to four-bedroom homes — which begin at $1.3 million — are set in a low-rise tower located directly on Indian Creek with prime private dockage for boating fans.

Nearby, the Monaco Yacht Club and Residences — designed by Italian minimalist master Piero Lissoni and for sale by Fortune International Group — also comes with onsite docks, in this case sized to accommodate boats up to 55 feet in length.

Finally, for folks who want direct water and boating access along with the privacy of an estate, consider 325 Leucadendra Dr. in tony Coral Cables, a short drive from downtown Miami. Set right by Biscayne Bay, Coral Gables has recently seen a host of mega-dollar listings, including a $45 million compound set on 2 prime waterfront acres along with $20 million contemporary property once owned by Yankees catcher Jorge Posada.

The Leucadendra Drive property — which totals 1.31 acres and was built back in 2015 — is priced at $34.9 million and spans more than 18,000 square feet and includes nearly 225 feet of direct water access. Listen by the Jills Zeder Group, the property was designed in the traditional Spanish villa-inspired style beloved in the Gables and is hidden within the coveted Gables Estates section of town. The home includes nine bedrooms and nine baths (plus a pair of half baths), staff quarters, a four-car garage, a private gym, a pool and a sprawling outdoor children’s playground.

Most swoon-worthy of all is its private dock, just off the swimming pool, for easy access to the sea life and clear waters of the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve.

Ever since its debut back in 2014, Blade has reinvented how cash-rich/time-poor folks move themselves between fancy seasonal cities and resort spots such as New York, the Hamptons, Miami and Palm Beach. Now Blade — along with similarly-styled boutique aviation firms — are expanding their transport offerings to provide jet-setters with even more ways to commute to (or between) their favorite Florida destinations.

Blade — which already delivers sun-seekers to both Miami and Palm Beach from the New York City area — has just launched express helicopter service between Miami and Palm Beach. Although these two winter playgrounds are less than 75 miles apart, those miles can be some of the most congested in all of the Miami metro area. Which is where Blade comes in.

“Over the past year, we have witnessed a significant migration of our New York fliers to South Florida,” said Blade spokesperson Lee Gold. “Whether for business, golf or just to visit family and friends, their No. 1 helicopter route is between Miami and Palm Beach.” 

Blade’s new service essentially allows users to book private helicopter flights between Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport and Palm Beach International Airport.  According to Gold, the new Miami to Palm Beach helicopter flights are fully private affairs, undertaken in twin-engine Sikorsky S-76 helicopters with a pair of pilots and up to eight passengers. Gold says most passengers opt to arrive at Opa-Locka, though Blade can land at a handful of other notable Miami airfields, as well as arrange for landing rights at key area resorts.

The service is likely to be most popular during peak event times such as Art Basel Miami Beach and the Miami International Boat Show — and complements Blade’s newest BladeOne jet service between the New York region and Florida, which has been upgraded to utilize a commercial-sized jet retrofitted to accommodate just 16 passengers. “Miami is back and busy,” Gold said, “so there is a strong need to fly over all of that traffic and congestion.”

Meanwhile, also in Miami, helicopter firm Heliflite is bringing the city’s most far-flung locations that much closer.  The company, which already operates throughout the Northeast, recently enhanced their existing Miami charter service to provide completely private, on-demand flights between Miami and well-loved regional destinations such as Palm Beach or Disney World. The company operates a broad fleet of twin-engine, two-pilot AgustaWestland AW139 aircraft and, just like in the New York region, will take passengers anywhere within a 250-mile radius.

But beyond Heliflite’s fleet are its pilots, who have each tallied some 3,000 hours of flight time, well beyond the industry standard. This commitment to safety and privacy has earned the company a strong following with celebrities who appreciate the ability to land on both Miami Beach and in Downtown Miami.

“Our focus on the well-being and security of our clients has earned us the highest safety ratings in the industry,” said Heliflite CEO Kurt Carlson. “Our clients enjoy the ultimate luxury experience while saving countless hours of on-the-ground transit time.”

Once in Miami, there are a clutch of well-regarded chopper companies offering panoramic tours and commutes across the Magic City for thrill-seeking visitors. These include Fly Miami, which has rides beginning at just 30 minutes long, Magic Air Tours, which specializes in “sunset” and “romantic” rides, and South Beach Helicopters, which flies all the way to the Florida Keys.

Source: NY Post