Harriett Dembrow always will have the distinction of being the very first resident to grace The Palace at Coral Gables.
“I had been living alone in my home. The neighborhood where we had lived for 51 years had become more seasonal with fewer people around,” said Dembrow who moved from Coconut Grove. “I’ve never lived in the heart of a city or in a high-rise building. Looking out from the balcony is such a thrill. You see the city come to life in the morning and people going to work.”
Dembrow moved into the elegant rental senior community at 1 Andalusia Ave. in early June. The Palace is one of the first of its kind in Florida. While many senior communities are on isolated campuses, The Palace takes advantage of a downtown address.
“I consider myself very lucky,” Dembrow said. “Now I can walk the neighborhood and visit the shops just down the street.”
The Palace was developed after city officials entered into a public-private partnership with The Palace Group, the awardwinning senior housing developer, owner and operator of senior communities in South Florida and Israel. The project includes a nine-story parking garage now open to the public.
Dembrow choose The Palace to be closer to her family. She has three children and six grandchildren. However, her new twobedroom apartment affords Dembrow the added benefit of being closer to all the places she was used to frequenting as a long-time Miami resident.
The Palace residents are mere steps away from restaurants, bookstores and shopping. The nine story tower includes 243 plush studio, one- and two-bedroom residences including independent living and a separate floor for assisted living with special services and care. Its elaborate interior design draws from the legendary Four Seasons George V Hotel in Paris, complete with marble floors, winding staircases and crystal chandeliers.
Dembrow, 83, recently celebrated her first night at The Palace with her family and her first neighbor, Victor Esterlitz, 88, who moved from The Palace Kendall.
“The change is nice,” said Esterlitz, a retired sales manager who now lives three miles from his children. “I’m not that familiar with the neighborhood. I’m looking forward to walking around and visiting some of the shops and restaurants that I can see from my window.”
Besides his new address, however, Esterliz enjoys his senior lifestyle at The Palace.
“You have the ability to be alone and in your own apartment doing whatever you wish or mix and mingling when you want,” he said. “And now I even have a new neighborhood to explore.”