Sales director Stacy Robins reveals why Aqua is a standout among residential projects
By Kamal Hotchandani
Photography by Diego Tosoni
The magic is in the fusion of so many individual architectural styles, made possible by DPZ, the master planners of the project.
Your family has been building in Miami for more than 40 years. What characteristics does Aqua Allison Island embody that sets it apart from other South Florida developments?
Aqua is a complete departure from any other residential project that I know of in South Florida. The private island combines the artistry of 10 talented architects who have successfully designed three separate mid-rise condominium buildings and 46 four-story town homes on an 8 ½-acre island.
The genius of the modern design is that everywhere you look while standing in the center of the island, there is something incredibly beautiful to see. Each building, each terrace, each window adds to this picture-book canvas of vivid color and angular shapes and curves. The detail of design of every townhouse, the grand feeling in the width of the streets, the vision of water and private docks from every point of view [make] you feel like you are existing in a beautiful, serene painting rather than an island where 151 residents live, work and play.
The design team behind Aqua includes Liz Plater-Zyberk, Alex Gorlin, Alison Spear, Walter Chatham, and your brother. How have their talents fused to create this highly anticipated landmark development?
Fused – that is the perfect word. The magic is in the fusion of so many individual architectural styles, made possible by DPZ, the master planners of the project. Each mid-rise and every town home has its own design personality – so much so that the buildings and homes are referred to by the name of the architect that designed them rather than the physical street address. Yet, as a whole, the structures are entirely fluid and sensible
Tell us how it is working with your brother Craig and being part of the sales when he was building the project?
Prior to launching the Aqua sales effort in 2001, I had spent more than 10 years in the South Beach market specializing in commercial leasing and sales, as well as the sale of luxury waterfront homes. I had just finished selling the Bath Club site to Don Peebles and financing his $10 million land purchase through TotalBank. I wanted to be his director of sales, but he felt I didn’t have the experience. I ended up helping him hire his director of sales, Dora Puig. After that experience, I decided that I wanted to run a sales project, and luckily my brother was willing to bet on me even though I had never run a project before.
I can’t say it was all roses. After all, we had the brother-sister thing added to the tension of introducing this visionary product that no one had ever seen before. Just memorizing over 40 different floor plans is enough to make anyone crazy. But after all is said and done, would we do it again? You bet. Although I don’t think I will give him my cell number next time.
How did you get into real estate? Why not law or medicine?
I am an optimistic, enthusiastic person. I like to live in a world where joy and celebration are part of everyday life. Selling real estate is fun. It just seems to suit my personality.
How many units have sold in Aqua? What is left?
Of 151 total units, we have six town homes remaining ranging in price from $3.4 million to $8.5 million. They are the most special in that they are the largest, widest designs and situated in strategic locations, either on the point of the island or on significant corners. My brother decided to keep these out of inventory until the development was fully completed and at its aesthetic peak.
Word has it that Aqua is the choice of residence for some pretty famous people like Britney Spears, Michael Jordan, Robert Downey, Jr, Lindsay Lohan and Hillary Duff, to name a few. Is that true?
Aqua is definitely appealing to the wealthy and famous set. In addition to the beautiful design, the island is completely private and secure. Especially with the town homes, you can drive through the security gate and into your own private garage without seeing anyone. You get the privacy of a home without the headache of the maintenance and upkeep of a single-family home.
Tell us a little bit about what life is like on Aqua Island.
This may sound corny, but Aqua is a happy place. With 8 ½ fully secured acres to roam around, two beautiful pools, a great spa, and wonderful visuals, who wouldn’t be happy? In the Aqua Realty office we find that current owners are deciding to move to larger spaces within the development, mainly condominium owners that are deciding to purchase town homes. They can’t imagine living anywhere else.
Your family has achieved so much success in Miami. Do you plan to move to other markets? What is the future of the Robins family?
I would love to participate in 10 more Aquas around the country. I know Craig has his eye on several new markets right now. Personally, I would love to do something in L.A. and New York, where our product and design just naturally fit.