Laid-back, bohemian Coconut Grove was founded in 1873 by an eclectic group of pioneers, artists, intellectuals and adventurers. Since then, the oasis has grown, attracting both new residents and tourists who are drawn to its charming shops and restaurants, not to mention its tropical ambiance and friendly vibe.
In the late 1960s, the old wood-frame homes common in Coconut Grove started to diminish as high-rise condo, hotel and office building developers discovered the area, and in 1990, the shopping, restaurant and entertainment venue CocoWalk opened, attracting even more visitors. “Coconut Grove has a natural tropical canvas, a wonderful waterfront and a great lifestyle,” says Jo-Ann Forster, vice president of Compass, who moved to Coconut Grove in 1970. “It has always attracted builders and developers.”
But when developers set their sights on Brickell, Midtown and Wynwood, Coconut Grove suffered. “I watched it happen, and I think it was a natural evolution,” Forster says. “It was a small arty town with mom-and-pop shops that was very organic. But as small towns get more popular, landlords start asking for more in rent, and as more expensive homes and condos are built, it pushes those shop owners out.”
The good news is that Coconut Grove is currently undergoing a renaissance, with new residential, retail and office properties under development. CocoWalk is being redeveloped, and pricey new condominiums are transforming the area into a luxury enclave. The Fairchild Coconut Grove, slated to open first quarter of 2020, is one example. ONE Sotheby’s is handling the exclusive sales for the boutique property, which was designed by architect Max Strang (his first South Florida condominium). It features just 26 residences with shared amenities such as a holistic wellness spa with a hammam, a rooftop pool and private boat slips.
Also on the horizon is Mr. C Residences by Terra and Mr. C, founded by Ignazio and Maggio Cipriani. The mixed-use project will bring 118 residences and ground-floor retail to the neighborhood with amenities such as a signature café, a gourmet market, a wellness lounge with juice bar, poolside food and beverage service, an indoor yoga studio and a signature spa. Mr. C is the third new residential development for Terra in the area, following on the success of Grove at Grand Bay and Park Grove.
“Coconut Grove is not only Miami’s most historic urban neighborhood but also one of the few communities in South Florida where people can live, run a business and enjoy lifestyle amenities such as restaurants, retail and entertainment options within walking distance,” says David Martin, president of Terra. “Over the years, it has held on to its urban character, its inextricable relationship with the water, its irreplaceable tree canopy and its bohemian vibe. The Grove is still a place where the man-made and the organic co-exist, where pedestrians take precedence and where there’s a healthy balance between residential, commercial and public spaces.” Terra also recently completed an office and retail development on Mary Street, and is working on Grove Central, which will combine residential and commercial uses with a multi-modal transit hub.