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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!

Recently Listed by Val Byrne in Gables Estates 181 Leucadendra Drive


Designed by Cesar Molina and Jodel Narcisse, and inspired by the Vanderbilt mansion on Fisher Island, this exquisite Mediterranean hacienda on the premier lagoon in Gables Estates, reigns as one of the most magnificent homes in this guarded community in Coral Gables along Biscayne Bay.   A main house designed to follow the arc of the property and lagoon, two carriage houses, and a two-bedroom service house form the perimeter of a gracious courtyard of European scale.  270′ feet of water frontage (only a moment to the Bay) are flanked by gorgeous terraces, porticos, and a gazebo for opulent outdoor living.  This is truly an exceptional estate.

Property Details:

 • 7 Bedrooms | 7.5 Baths

• 14,946 Adj. Square Feet | 48,274 Square Foot Lot | 270′ Water Frontage

 • List Price: $22,500,000


Aerial Tour





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!

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!

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!

Too Tired to Walk On Halloween?


 I’ve had a couple of clients who recently moved to Miami ask me where they can relax and enjoy a Halloween Party with their kids.

If you live in Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, South Miami, Pinecrest, or Palmetto Bay you are in SO much luck! These communities are so exceptional, and I don’t say that because most of my sales are in these neighborhoods; my sales are in these neighborhoods because the communities and the government centers that manage them are THE BEST! Enjoy Halloween Events at anyone of these venues:


Coral Gables: Halloween on the Mile. From 4 pm to 7 pm, there will be trick-or-treating along the Mile and its adjacent streets. Other activities include story time at Books & Books at 4:30 pm, a children’s costume contest at Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre at 5 pm and a doggie costume contest at the Coral Gables Museum at 5:30 pm.

Coconut Grove: Howl-o-ween at Cocowalk. From 2 pm until 7 pm, children are invited to trick-or-treat in and around Cocowalk. In addition to loading up their Halloween goody bags, children will also be able to enjoy face painting, a costume contest, magicians and clowns.

South Miami: Safe Streets Halloween. From 4 pm until 7 pm, the City of South Miami will be closing off Sunset Drive from US1 to Red Road for its annual Halloween trick-or-treating event.

Pinecrest: ‘Track or Treat’ at Evelyn Greer Park. Show up dressed in your Halloween best at any time from 5 pm until 7 pm and join the community trick-or-treating along the track and sampling yummy treats from local businesses.

Palmetto Bay: ‘Where Monsters Go’ at Coral Reef Park. This event begins at 6 pm, with a free movie screening of Hotel Transylvania at 7 pm. Trick-or-treating, games and other activities are just a sampling of the fun that the Village of Palmetto Bay has in store for its residents for Halloween. Children and adults dressed in costume will be automatically eligible to receive a raffle ticket to win ghoulishly.


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!

Just Sold by Valaree Byrne in Coconut Grove! Cloisters on the Bay, Villa 1137

Sitting Area 2

List Price: $1,699,000.00

3 Bedrooms | 4 Baths


It has been an absolute pleasure to market and sell Villa 1137 at Cloisters on the Bay in Coconut Grove. I’ve sold many properties in and near the heart-of-the-Grove, but none so close to my favorite restaurants, Green Street Café and the Bombay Darbar Indian Restaurant. Anytime a prospective Buyer was late, I walked over to Green Street’s for a snack; when I had early evening showings I had dinner at Darbar after.

Those aren’t the only reasons though – I can’t say enough about that community. The people who live AND work there are wonderful (the guards are the best I have seen in my 20+ year real estate career), the grounds are beautiful and spectacularly kept; of course the tennis courts, club house, and pool are first class, and being nestled between the Barnacle Historic Park, Peacock Park, and Biscayne National Park is heavenly. Cloisters on the Bay is the best kept secret in Coconut Grove, although I guess not such a secret anymore – three of them sold there this month! Congratulations to the lucky Buyers!

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!

About the Most Expensive Home and Breakfast


Le Palais Royal in Hillsboro Beach, Florida  List Price $139million.

Le Palais Royal in Hillsboro Beach, Florida List Price $139million.

So Le Palais Royal on Millionaires Mile in Hillsboro Beach has weighed in as the most expensive luxury home in the US at $139 million dollars. There are a lot of things to do at this 4-acre ocean front estate like watch a movie in your Imax Theatre, sip drinks at your bar & lounge, or play some golf on your putting green.   The rest of the bells and whistles one might expect; 11 bedrooms, 17 baths, 492-foot private dock, and underground parking for 30 cars.

I would still rather live in the most expensive luxury home in Coral Gables, Miami Beach, Key Biscayne, or Coconut Grove so I could walk to a cool place for breakfast like the Donut Gallery on the Key (their “Heart Attack” is the best), Greenstreets Café in Coconut Grove, the News Café on South Beach, or brunch at The Biltmore Hotel.  Sunday Breakfast is the highlight of my week so I would have to remain local if I were to live in the most expensive home.  Hillsboro Beach wouldn’t cut it for me.



What Can The Young and Restless Do in Coral Gables in the Wee Hours of the Night?

photo 1Well, for kicks you might swim with the alligators in the canals at Gables-by-the-Sea; or maybe check out Ray Allen’s house while the wife and kids are sleeping? NOT. It does make for some interesting reading though. This weekend some restless party goers at a home on Lugo Avenue in Gables-by-the-Sea jumped into the canal to swim and apparently ticked off an alligator who bit the two kids (South Miami Hospital ER probably hasn’t seen that in a long time).

That event still doesn’t score as high on the knucklehead richter scale as that of the kids at the Tahiti Beach party who ‘snuck’ into Ray Allen’s house while his wife and kids were sleeping. Could that have sounded remotely like the Sean Taylor event a few years back? Although different circumstances, what if Ray or Shannon Allen had defended their homestead with a shotgun? Would the Coral Gables police still be debating what crime occurred?

Last question: since Ray Allen finally bought the home he had been renting in Tahiti Beach (for $11,000,000), does that mean Miami will be home? T-minus 48 days until game 1 of the Heat season.


Ray Allen’s New Tahiti Beach Home


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!