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Who Sells the Most Million Dollar Residences?


Once again EWM Realty International ranks #1 in the number of homes sold over $1,000,000 in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. With $417,320,000 in sales of million dollar+ homes in the first quarter of 2015 Buyers and Sellers have chosen EWM over the competition! Bringing it down to a more simple reality, EWM Realtors sold a home in the $1mil+ range every 15 hours! I consider myself fortunate to be in such good company.

All indications of sales and pending sales in the neighborhoods I specialize in – Coral Gables, South Miami, Coconut Grove, Ponce/Davis corridor, Pinecrest, and Palmetto Bay – are pointing in the same direction for the second quarter!   If I were to predict which $1,000,000+ properties I have listed were going to sell this quarter I would bank on these timeless, outstanding residences:

181 Leucadendra Drive With 270' of Glorious Waterfrontage

181 Leucadendra Drive, Coral Gables | List Price: $22,500,000 | www.181Leucadendra.com

Back Exterior Panorama

5030 Davis Road, Ponce-Davis Estates | List Price: $5,495,000 | www.CasaIluminada.com

wonderful pool and patio for entertaining

11205 SW 93rd Court, Baptist Hospital Corridor | List Price: $1,099,000 | www.11205SW93.com

Learn more about real estate in Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, South Miami,  Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay, by contacting Val Byrne at [email protected] or at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne & Associates– Working For You!

From the Horse’s Mouth…Latest Scoop on the Main Highway Drainage Project!

Miami-Dade-County-LogoCoconut Grove is buzzing with projects! Besides the new and beautiful Park Grove and Grove at Grand Bay Towers there are many ‘works in progress’:  Regatta Park & surrounding plans,  Save the Coconut Grove Playhouse, Commodore Plaza sidewalk beautification, CocoWalk revival, and of course new commercial ownerships and proposed site plans all over the Grove.

Very large and intensely discussed on the list is the Stormwater Drainage Improvement Project on Main Highway.  That’s Dade County’s child, not the City of Miami’s, and there isn’t any voting about it – it’s a must, it will be messy until completed, and progress is sometimes painful.  We barely live above sea level,  and proper drainage is a must. City of Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff was kind enough to issue a letter to the community with the facts (as the County presented them).

misc_floodThere is an ocean of information in his letter (see below), complete with site maps, but in a nutshell beginning in June and for approximately seven months (ha ha)  there will be a retrofitting of the existing drainage system along Main Highway between Royal Road and McFarlane Road.  Main Highway will be one lane only moving in the north direction, and Grand Avenue will essentially be the route out for southbound traffic. Ouch.

Just thinking about it gives parents dropping off at St. Hugh’s, Ransom, Carrollton, and Plymouth Congregational Pre-School some serious anxiety, but this too shall pass!  Many moons ago I worked in Miami Lakes and the commute was really, really painful.  My father’s advice? Turn up the radio and enjoy the ride.


The Insider Scoop on the Main Highway Drainage Project

We have received a large volume of emails and phone calls regarding the upcoming Miami-Dade County Stormwater Drainage Improvement Project on Main Highway. With the many rumors and gossip that have been circulating throughout the community, we wanted to present the plans as they have been presented to us by the County. Hopefully this clears up any misunderstanding about the project and its intention.The project is slated to begin in June of 2015 and will retrofit the existing drainage system that has failed due to age and been compromised by tree root intrusion. As you can see in the diagram below, the project stretches from Royal Road to MacFarlane Road and will take 7 months to complete. Miami-Dade County officials have told us that the project was actually going to start earlier. However, it was pushed to June to prepare those frequenting the schools on Main Highway for the incoming traffic congestion when the new year school year begins and to allow for the completion of the Southwest 27th Avenue Project.

With a project of this magnitude, there are bound to be many community concerns. The first is obviously traffic. Undeniably, this will narrow one of the most used streets in this community, especially for drop off and pick up during the school year. Traffic will be one-way, heading North, and southbound traffic will have to be rerouted down Grand Avenue to Douglas Road. See the below illustration for a visual representation.

Another concern for the community and this office has been the removal of trees along this signature corridor in Coconut Grove. We have been told by the County that NO trees will be removed during this project. This project only addresses the stormwater drainage system underneath the street. Additionally, the City has requested that a bike lane be striped on the side of the street, removing the commodore trail from the sidewalk.Another concern we have heard from residents is that the County project is to add sewage lines for up-and-coming high-rise development down Main Highway. This was also answered in the negative by Alejandro Barrios, the Miami-Dade County project manager. This project is EXCLUSIVELY for retrofitting an outdated stormwater drainage system. Additionally, nowhere in Miami-Dade County do stormwater drainage pipes run next to sewage pipes.If you have any additional questions about the project itself, feel free to reach out to Alejandro Barrios, or Francisco Gonzalez at the Stormwater Drainage Design Section of Miami-Dade County, and they will help you. Please call 305-375-4772.As always, if you have questions or concerns that you’d like to share with our office, you can always call us at (305) 250-5333 or email me at [email protected].

Learn more about real estate in South Miami, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay, by contacting Val Byrne at [email protected] or at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You!

Hey Chris, Why Don’t You Ask Lebron Why He Chose To Live Coconut Grove?


If you haven’t read “Why Won’t Anyone Buy LeBron James’ Miami House?”, click the link and be as amused as I was. The director of luxury sales for a respected real estate company explains why LeBron’s house hasn’t sold in 6 months. In David Letterman-style I’ll name the reasons in reverse, and save the best for last:

Lebron James


“LeBron’s $17 million mansion won’t sell because…”

6) It’s not in the ideal ideal location (yes, ‘ideal’ is used twice).

5) People spending this kind of money are not impressed by who owns it.

4) It’s hard to find someone who will write a $17 million check.

3) The Grove is too residential so you’re not going to get the big baller-type rollers.

2) Big money tends to gravitate to Miami Beach.

1) LeBron James’ home is in the Coconut Grove neighborhood.

Do you think he checked that story out with LeBron? Do you think Chris has been to Coconut Grove? LeBron could have lived anywhere in Miami, and I know of a half dozen houses in Miami that were considered, but legendary ex-Miami Heat player #6 chose 3590 Crystal View Court because it IS the ideal location, and it IS in the ideal neighborhood. I won’t bother to go into the reasons why, and I wouldn’t be foolish enough to knock Miami Beach because I LOVE it.

Next week I am listing 181 Leucadendra Drive in Gables Estates for $22,500,000. It’s an ideal neighborhood where plenty of “big baller-type rollers” live under the radar, and $17 million is what the last land parcel sold for! Here’s a preview:


 Learn more about real estate in South Miami, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay, by contacting Val Byrne at [email protected] or at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You!

Will We See The End Of Controlled Choice?

Brief background: In the 1980’s Miami-Dade County Public Schools established “Controlled Choice,” a system whereby the school system selected the school that a student would attend. It was intended to desegregate the schools.

Sunset Elementary School

Fast forward to 2015 and Coral Gables is the county’s only remaining city to have Controlled Choice, with Coral Gables Preparatory Academy, George Washington Carver Elementary, and Sunset Elementary Schools being the lone survivors and topic of debate. Today Commissioners will meet with the Miami-Dade County School Board where the Attendance Boundary Committee is expected to vote on the issue. That recommendation will be given to Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, who will make the final decision.

Of course there is debate on all sides, some preferring their children to attend the neighborhood school, and others believing the schools are not equal and perhaps another route is best, but at the very least they want more time to investigate. Apparently, the parents were made aware of the proposal with only 4 days remaining in the 70-day review process.

G.W. Carver Elementary School

From a realtor’s perspective: try explaining Controlled Choice to an international Buyer. I sell a lot of properties in Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, and South Miami, and the Buyers don’t always ‘get it’ or like it. One recent example: Buyer wants to live in the Dante Fascell Park area of South Miami (west of Red Road), but wants to reside east of SW 59th Avenue so they can be in the Coral Gables school district (and attend Sunset Elementary School). I had to tell them that with the Controlled Choice system their children could be placed in one of the other 2 schools, which logistically are much further away. Parents are working in the Dadeland/Datran area and now the children may have to go to elementary school in the north Gables (Coral Gables Preparatory Academy). They will probably opt out of the public school arena.   Let’s see what happens today!


Coral Gables Preparatory Academy

To learn more about real estate in Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, South Miami, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay, contact Val Byrne at [email protected] or at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You!


The Underline Is Going To Be Top-of-the-Line! Thank You Meg Daly!

What do the UM, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, the Dade County parks, public works and transit departments, and the Mayors of Miami, Coral Gables, and South Miami have in common? They are avid supporters of Meg Daly’s “Underline” dream of transforming the existing, Underline logopractically unused paved path that runs from Brickell to Dadeland (under the Metrorail), into a beautiful, functional, wildly successful linear park for cyclists and pedestrians.


Friends of the Underline’ see gardens, parks, and playgrounds connecting neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces. Meg’s genius vision + tireless grassroots effort will not only give Miami another layer of outdoor living, but it will make it possible for kids and adults to walk or cycle to work, play, and school SAFELY. Can you imagine what a boost the Underline will give the Metrorail? OMG, why isn’t everyone taking the Metrorail to the American Airlines Arena, Perez Art Museum, and the Corporate Run? What if we all walked the Underline and hopped on the Metrorail to get us most of the way to Art Basel and Wynwood? It took me nearly 2 hours to get into the Miami Beach Convention Center this year.

Underline Rendering 2Underline Rendering

As a realtor primarily selling homes in Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, South Miami, Pinecrest, and Palmetto Bay I spend A LOT of time in my car and that means a lot of time on US1.  I am so excited to watch the transformation of that space; it will be such a joy to look over and see a beautiful, vibrant, happy scene under the Metrorail, and I can’t wait to walk on it!

Meg Daly

PS, before Meg Daly fell off her bike, broke her elbows, rendered herself unable to drive and had to get to physical therapy in the Grove via Metrorail and walking (that’s where she brainstormed the Underline/formerly Greenlink), she was a marketing whiz at EWM Realty International. Thank you so much Meg for your vision, energy, and spirit! Good luck to the five design teams competing to design the masterplan for the Underline: Balmori Associates, Dlandstudio, and James Corner Field Operations, all from New York, Perkins + Will, and Stoss, from Boston.


To learn more about real estate in Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, South Miami, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay, contact Val Byrne at [email protected] or at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You!

All Eyes Are On Miami!


Did everyone read last week’s Business Monday cover story about Miami being a leading luxury capital of the world?   It was a WOW moment for Miami where we were defined as “a cosmopolitan playground for the world’s wealthy,” “the American Riviera,” and “a magnet for capital and people from all over the world.” To put it in perspective Miami is:

  • No. 7 of 10 top markets globally according to Wealth Report real estate
  • No. 9 of 10 in luxury real estate markets according to Christie’s International Real Estate (Cote d’ Azur, London and Miami are the world’s most popular second homes)
  • No. 9 globally and No. 2 in the United States in sales of Krug Champagne
  • No. 1 globally in sales of Vilebrequin swimwear
  • No. 2 in the United State in sales of Audemars Piguet watches
  • Way the heck up there in world-wide sales of Breguet watches, Ferragamo shoes & accessories, Burgess Yachts, and Maserati cars

So those are some light-shedding statistics on this great city that I have called home all of my life and sold real estate in for 20+ years (specializing in Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, South Miami, Pinecrest, & Palmetto Bay). The most amazing characteristic of Miami is how resilient we are, and how quickly we recovered from the ‘dark days’ which were darkest in 2007 & 2008. By 2009-2010 we were well on our way to recovery, and 2014 was a record year for real estate sales in both luxury ($1mil+) and non-luxury real estate markets.

You can track the inventory and sales of luxury and non-luxury real estate in Miami for the last 12 years on the two graphs below (click on graph for enlargement):

Over 1 Mil


To learn more about real estate in Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, South Miami, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay, contact Val Byrne at [email protected] or at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You!

The Buzz on Condos in Coconut Grove! There’s Life Beyond Park Grove…

I have clients coming to Miami this month who want to buy a condo in Coconut Grove but can’t afford nor wait for Park Grove to be completed.  I adore Park Grove but we have to remember there is life beyond that site! Architectural styles change and building popularities ebb and flow, but panoramas of sunrise, sunset, Sailboat Bay, and downtown Miami remain constant. Where does one go when they want to be a condo-wheeling Grovite before 2016-17? 

Grovenor House

There are five properties for sale between $1.6 mil and $8.750 ranging from 1,750 sf to about 6,900 sf.  Ugo Colombo completed this majestic 32-story tower in 2006 and it still reigns in my eyes as the king of South Bayshore Drive.

Grovenor House, 2627 S. Bayshore Drive

Grovenor House, 2627 S. Bayshore Drive

Ritz Carlton Tower Residences & Executive Residences

The ‘Ritz’ is the benchmark for luxury and elegance and between the two Ritz Towers there are four units for sale between $970,000 and $2.350 mil, ranging in size from 1,560 sf to 4000 sf.


Ritz Carlton Tower and Ritz Carlton Executive Residences, 3400 & 3350 SW 27th Avenue

Yacht Harbour

It was the bomb when it debuted in 1975 and this Ken Treister classic is still one of my favorites.  They just finished the 40 year re-certification at Yacht Harbour and with it came new balconies and a completely fresh face at poolside.  There are 4 great units available right now and 2 of them, in the coveted “A” line, have direct views of Sailboat Bay for $799,000 and $675,000.

View from Yacht Harbour, 2901 S. Bayshore Drive

Grove Isle

The views from Grove Isle are endless, and so is the resort lifestyle: hotel, spa, tennis courts, marina, and restaurant – it’s all grand on this private island. Between the 3 buildings there are 10 two and three bedroom units for sale right now between $675,000 and $1.45 mil.


Grove Isle, 1, 2 & 3 Grove Isle Drive

Mutiny Hotel & Condo and Mutiny Park Sonesta Condominium

The Mutiny Hotel located at 2951 S. Bayshore Drive, and Mutiny Park Sonesta Condominium located at 2889 McFarlane Road have a diverse range of inventory beginning at $219,000 and reaching as high as $1.5mil. Both properties appeal to the Coconut Grove investor and periodic visitor who values the hotel/condo platform allowing short and long term visitors.


The Mutiny Hotel & Condo, 2951 S. Bayshore Drive & Mutiny Park Sonesta Condominium, 2889 McFarlane Road

There are other fabulous buildings in the Grove to consider but there isn’t much for sale in them at the moment. Always on my radar are the Residences at Vizcaya, Grove Hill Tower, Beacon Harbour, Grove Towers, and Mayfair Lofts. Without a doubt, the selection of condominiums in Coconut Grove is as diverse and eclectic as the people who live there.

To learn more about real estate in Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, South Miami, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay, contact Val Byrne at [email protected] or at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You!

Miami Real Estate 2015….Words of Wisdom from the Wise Guys!


From left: Ron Krongold, Nitin Motwani, Don Peebles, Jacob Roffman, Tom Roth

The Real Deal has published “What top Miami developers are predicting for 2015.” In a nutshell the fresh and out-of-the-box thinkers at Grass River Properties are entrenched in the Miami facts that have always driven our economies: Miami appeals to major onshore institutional investors, private equity, and international investors. We attract Latin Americans looking for flight capital and safe haven. We are a magnet for Europeans looking for lower tax bases and better climate, and Northeasterners who have always fled south for warm weather are drawn to our no state tax status. Tom Roth, principal at Grass River Properties, says all of this combined with the residential options and vibrant lifestyle that has evolved in the last 15 years will drive the residential, retail, and office markets in Miami.

Jacob Roffman, principal at 13th Floor Investments and developer of 1010 Brickell, sees young professionals and international investors shaping the residential market in 2015. The young professionals moving in the direction of urban sensibility have driven development investors to these core urban areas. Roffman sees foreign demand for ‘for-sale’ products moderate as it becomes increasingly difficult to move capital out of foreign countries.

According to Don Peebles, we are going to see continued strength in the luxury condos and the development of luxury condos for rental housing as the gap in the cost of rent and the cost of ownership narrows.

Nitin Motwani, developer of Paramount Miami Worldcenter in downtown Miami, believes in those developments with active sales and marketing infrastructures, strong sponsors, and a unique experience or location will be in high demand (that defines most of the developments I have interest in!).

Ron Krongold (Gold Krown Financial) sees the Miami market leveling out as our inventory increases to seven, eight, and nine months of supply (six months is considered the healthy ‘ideal’). At EWM Realty International we have seen the first signs of inventory increasing but demand in all markets is still extremely strong, and well-priced properties are moving quickly.

To learn more about real estate in South Miami, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay, contact Val Byrne at [email protected] or at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You!

How Does the Recent Waterfront Sale on North Bay Road Compare to Coral Gables and Coconut Grove Waterfront Property? Hmm…


5840 North Bay Road, Miami Beach

A magnificent “builder’s acre” (37,895sf) on tony North Bay Road just closed for $15,250,000 (asking price $15,900,000, listed in February, 2014). What the Buyer will do with the existing 6 bedroom/5 bath home, circa 1929, remains to be seen but all are guessing that it is coming down. A Coral Gables-based family purchased the property which makes one ask what could they have purchased on the water in Coral Gables or Coconut Grove for a similar amount?

If you are out shopping for “waterfront” property in Coral Gables or Coconut Grove between $15,000,000 and $20,000,000 there are only six options; four in the Gables (two in Gables Estates, one in Cocoplum, one in Journey’s End), and two in the Grove (one in Entrada Estates and of course the uber cool nest LeGone James just left)

Only Lebron’s house at 3590 Crystal View Court, and 3575 Stewart Avenue in Entrada Estates have the sweeping Bay views that compare to the North Bay Road property, but it would certainly be desirable to live in Gables Estates, Cocoplum, or Journey’s End! Here is a snippet of what’s out there!

9151 arvida

9151 Arvida Lane, Coral Gables

9485 old cut

9485 Old Cutler Lane, Coral Gables









325 leuc

325 Leucadendra Drive, Coral Gables


300 Costanera Road, Coral Gables





3575 stewart

3575 Stewart Avenue, Coconut Grove


3590 Crystal View Court, Miami











To learn more about real estate in South Miami, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay, contact Val Byrne at [email protected] or at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You!

South Florida by the Numbers!

The Real Deal, which is a daily read or feed for active realtors, released the “Thankful in Miami Edition” today which highlights some interesting South Florida stats. This information isn’t going to make or break your day but they are fun facts:

  • How many hurricanes have hit South Florida since 2005?   0 / Nada
  • What is Miami’s average temperature? 75.9 degrees (Have you seen what is happening across the country this week? Six feet of snow in Buffalo in one day – yikes!)

Matheson Hammock Park in Coral Gables, FL

Winter Weather

Buffalo, NY







  • What percent increase did South Florida have in median sales prices in the 3rd quarter? 8.7%
  • 001-Welcome_To_Beautiful_515_San_Antonio_Avenue-1281025-mls

    515 San Antonio Avenue, Coral Gables, FL

    What percentage of Miami real estate transactions have been conducted by international buyers this year? 29% This is down from 2013 when then the number was 35% . I am having a hard time believing the number of international buyers is down because I have never had so many international clients. Just this week alone, one property that I have listed in Coral Gables at 515 San Antonio has been looked at by buyers from Italy, Uruguay, Argentina, Venezuela, and Spain.

  • How many people are predicted to pass through MiamiCentral (All Aboard Florida’s downtown Miami station) each year? 12 million!!!! The dollar impact of that is unknown to me but my first thought when I heard about All Aboard Florida was, ‘Where was that when I was trekking to Walt Disney World and Halloween Horror Nights those 30 or so times?”

All-Aboard-Florida_-Map_WebTo learn more about real estate in South Miami, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay, contact Val Byrne at [email protected] or at 305-323-6231. Val Byrne – Working For You!