If your last trip to the Redlands was when you were 8 years old, your memories of are probably vague but wonderful. There you were in the back seat of your parent’s car staring up at the Royal Palm Trees that lined Krome Avenue on the way to the Fruit & Spice Park. There was a promise of a strawberry milk shake at a road side stand if you behaved. If you were really lucky, you lingered on Krome and you ended up having lunch in a country style diner where they served tea in mason jars. Well, it might be time to take another look at The Redland and Homestead, they now have everything from a Winery to a NASCAR Racetrack. Miami Dade College has a campus there, Donald Trump has big plans for a movie studio and there is even a booming Luxury Real Estate market.
David Fairchild and John James Audubon may have been some of the first to discover its beauty, but they are far from the last. Others soon followed for the promise of agricultural bounty in a place they touted as “The Garden of Eden.” The area was first known as “Redlands” around the turn of the century, named after its pockets of red clay in the topsoil. Early residents worried that people would confuse it with the city in California so they dropped the “S” on the end, naming it simply “Redland.” But, for years Miamians have been saying “let’s take a ride down to The Redland” and the name seems to have stuck.
So what’s cooking in The Redland today? Donald Trump has expressed a long standing interest in buying land to build a sprawling 790 acre Hollywood style movie studio called “Trump Studio City.” Proposed architectural plans for the studios can be viewed at http://www.miamidade.gov/district11/library/12-06-05-trump-studio-city.pdf. Whether or not the studio will actually get built remains unknown, but Trump remains dedicated to getting it done. You may find it hard to believe, but people laughed when it was announced that they were going to build a race track in Homestead, and today that venue is one of the most popular on the NASCAR circuit. There is a wave of elite people seeking an exclusive and secluded lifestyle who have bought or built homes there over the past few years. Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report, recently bought a wooded hammock of a home and has been quietly buying more land adjacent to his property.
The Redland is one of the few places in South Florida where land is still cheap and available. The lots are enormous, allowing room to build whatever one desires. Miami has dozens of affluent luxury neighborhoods to build a house, but when local architect Charles Sieger of Sieger & Suarez Architectural Partnership (a silent giant in South Florida condominium building design) set out to build himself a 19,000 square foot Castle surrounded by moat, he did it on a 14 acre lot in The Redland. The Castle, dubbed “Chateau Artisan,” is currently listed for sale by the Zeder Team for $10.9 million dollars and has been featured in a Birdman Music Video as well as HGTV’s “Amazing Water Homes.”
While Chateau Artisan may be the biggest and priciest residential listing in the area, there are other luxury homes for sale with prices ranging from the hundred thousands to several millions. One such example is a 13,500 square foot home built on a 10 acre Estate that lines the Redland Gulf & Country Club. The estate, listed by Levi Meyer of Fortune International Realty for $4,999,999 million dollars, is a secluded tropical paradise with stunning landscaping, a 3 car garage, a gym, and a Koi fish pond that looks more like a lake from satellite images. The home is stocked with loads of luxury amenities like its intricate Crestron home automation system. For pictures and more information, visit www.17201sw248thStreet.com.
Yes, The Redland have evolved. Some Redland locals call the area “Key Largo North,” as it’s just a short drive down to the Keys. Others refer to it as “Miami’s West Hampton.” In fact, many people work in the Keys or Downtown Miami and commute to the Redland daily. If you want to know what all the hoopla is about, go take a drive out there. As the hustle of the busy Miami city fades in the distance and you gaze upon endless fields and blue skies, your body slips into a state of blissful relaxation. There are Bed & Breakfasts if you wish to spend the weekend exploring boutiques, or hunting for great finds in the local antique shops, or touring the amazing Bonzai Gardens, or even visiting the local winery. Life moves at its own pace, there is sense of peace in the Redland, yet that feeling of being far away from Miami is nothing more than an illusion, it is a mere 20 miles away as the crow flies. Miami International Airport is close by, while boating and water adventures in the Keys are even closer.
The Redland is one of the best places to grow orchids and it is also a bird sanctuary. You can watch parrots fly overhead, peacocks may wander through your back yard as you lie on your porch swing watching the sunset in your own private paradise. Forget what you think you know about it. Get in the car, take a drive, make sure your windows are down and the GPS is set for Redland, Florida. Oh, and while you are down there, go get yourself a fresh strawberry smoothie and feel like a child again.
This column is co-authored by Bobbi Schwartz and Levi Meyer. Levi and his mother are native Miamians. He is a Real Estate agent at Fortune International Realty of Coral Gables and can be reached via his website at www.levimeyer.com. Bobbi is a freelance writer, and historian. In addition to co-authoring this column, she blogs regularly at www.hurricaneharbor.blogspot.com