Harboring Success: Bal Harbour

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Bal Harbour offers world-class sophistication with the exclusivity of a private community.

By Monique Stringfellow

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 In addition to having sumptuous homes with pristine views, private access to the water, and a peerless level of privacy, residents of Bal Harbour are lucky enough to have access to what fashion arbiter Women’s Wear Daily dubbed the “No. 1 Shopping Center in the U.S.”

Known for its oceanfront estates, private gated communities, and shopping that gives residents of most larger cities serious retail envy, Bal Harbour is recognized as one of the world’s most glamorous addresses. Bal Harbour was the result of a development initiative led by a handful of private investors in 1946. During the planning of the community, maximizing the land’s natural beauty was of foremost importance. In fact, Bal Harbour was the first planned community in Florida to bury its utilities underground, creating picturesque streets unmarred by telephone and electrical cables. The end result is a flawless meeting of natural beauty and elegant design.

Haute Living spoke with some of the area’s high-end brokers to get the inside scoop on hot properties and why the sky’s the limit on the Bal Harbour real estate market. Bonnie Brooks and Ilene Tessler of Open Door have been orchestrating deals in Bal Harbour and its surrounding areas for more than 25 years. They represent a range of clientele including international dignitaries, actors, and sports figures that are drawn to the safety, privacy, and beauty of Bal Harbour and its nearby islands. Tessler cites a number of reasons as to why so many of her clients choose Bal Harbour. “It has its own marina and beach club, its own police department, and the streets are privately owned by the community.” It is factors like these that keep house prices soaring, providing them with immunity from the economic factors that have so deeply affected other parts of the real estate industry. “Bal Harbour properties are so in-demand that some of the best rarely come up for sale,” says Tessler. A good example is waterfront properties, which never stay on the market for long. At press time, there are only two waterfront homes on the market. Longtime residents will often opt for a teardown of a property they already own and construct a new home on their land because of the high rate of demand. Julio Iglesias is one such example and is in the midst of building his dream home on property that he has owned for many years.

In addition to having sumptuous homes with pristine views, private access to the water, and a peerless level of privacy, residents of Bal Harbour are lucky enough to have access to what fashion arbiter Women’s Wear Daily dubbed the “No. 1 Shopping Center in the U.S.” Home to flagship stores of the most fabulous jewelers including Harry Winston, Bulgari, and Tiffany, and high-end fashion from all ends of the earth, the Shops at Bal Harbour Village offer residents and visitors the kind of fashion experience that one might expect from a much larger city. Louis Vuitton, Bottega Veneta, and Giuseppe Zanotti are just a few of the many, many designers to choose from. Bal Harbour Village is also the home to world class dining establishments that showcase the talents of acclaimed chefs from all over the world. There are bistros and cafés that provide the perfect respite from a long day of shopping as well as more formal options for evening.

The concentration of so much grandeur has begun to generate a “see and be seen” social scene to rival South Beach. Saks 5th Avenue recently hosted an event for Christian Louboutin, where devotees of his brand toasted the designer and previewed his new styles. Bal Harbour is absolutely unique insofar as residents are able to take advantage of grand scale charms in the privacy of their intimate enclave. It is easy to see why Bal Harbour continues to woo discerning buyers who want nothing but the best.

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