Palau at Sunset Harbour is one of South Beach’s newest pre-construction projects that have recently sprung back into motion after a 4 year lull. But, being cyclical, the real estate market has bounced back in South Beach and bounced back in a big way! Miami Beach has seen change move into high gear over the last decade. And except for the pause brought on by the recent recession, that change has been constant. One of the best things to come out of the increased density and the traffic jams is the embrace of the walkable neighborhood. Where as 15 years ago sidewalks in neighborhoods like Sunset Harbour seemed purely decorative, now they are actually functional. The completion of the Sunset Harbour shops and the addition of great new dining spots in the neighborhood like Pubbelly and Sardinia on Purdy Avenue has made a formerly industrial area into a walkers paradise.
Publix has had a huge, spaceship-style flagship store there for years, nudged over recently by Fresh Market’s behemoth 24,000 square foot shop. There is relatively quiet green space overlooking Biscayne Bay at the Maurice Gibb Park and the welcoming, away-from-the-crowds Standard Hotel just around the corner on Belle Isle. So it was only a matter of time before developers spotted the underutilized corner at Sunset Drive and 20th Street where the closed Mark’s Dry Cleaners and an earlier abandoned development now stand, and gave it to an architect to rethink for today’s realities.
The developers who snagged the waterfront property are SMG – most famously known as an investment vehicle for the family of Roy Disney – and the architectural firm chosen is that of Kobe Karp. It’s surprising the site was overlooked as long as it has been. Just across the water from the Sunset Islands, this land is really the first thing visible when arriving in -or departing from – South Beach from Alton Road. It is walking distance to the best of South Beach, from Lincoln Road to the New World Symphony.
Thankfully, Palau, the name given to the mixed-use development to rise on the site thinks in terms of New Urbanism, seeing this little section of Miami Beach not as the perfect spot for a gated condominium that turns its back on the street, but instead sees it as an opportunity to continue the connection of the pedestrian to the neighborhood with retail on the ground level and residential above. In a crisp, clear design, Kobe Karp Architecture and Design has given us another link in the walkable community into which Sunset Harbour is rapidly morphing.
Greater still, Karp’s design has shed the pastiche skin that many New Urbanist projects suffered from in years past, opting for a minimalist’s approach instead of questionable period revival. At Palau, you can pretty much forget the car and walk everywhere you might want to be, but here you can do it in modern style. Being healthy never looked so good, and really now, isn’t that the new South Beach motto?
With floating rooftop pool, landscape design by Raymond Jungles and a chance to live the bike-at-your-front-door, boat-at-your-backdoor lifestyle, who wouldn’t want to live here? Palau residences are reported to start at $500,000 and jump to about $2,000,000 for a top-of-the-line penthouse. A little easier to stomach than the current, dizzying prices just a few blocks away in the South of Fifth neighborhood.
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