Often stories of incorporation start with settlers to an area with little to no government oversight. In recent history, such is the case in the western reaches of Miami-Dade and Broward County, as suburbanites continued to move west, developers saw opportunity. Conversely, Sunny Isles Beach was already developed. The problem is that it was developed as a vacation or winter home destination. As more of our ‘snowbirds’ became full time residents, or settlers, the need or desire to ‘redevelop’ and incorporate was apparent. And developers saw opportunity.
Fortunately for the City of Sunny Isles Beach, their first hire, City Attorney, Lynn Dannheisser was an experienced municipal attorney, assisting in the incorporation of the Village of Pinecrest. She worked hand in hand with the committee that created the first charter. She understood what the goal was and she too saw opportunity, not for the developer, but for the taxpayers, the residents.
Fast forward 20 years later and the founders’ initial vision transformed the skyline that is now recognizable from afar. With more than 30 new developments within the past 20 years, it is interesting to note that there are only 7 major developers and 3 smaller (a single building) responsible for this transformation; Chateau Group, Dezer Development, Fortune International, J. Milton & Associates, The Related Group, Trump Group (Jules Trump), and Turnberry Development; and Coscan Homes, The Cornerstone Group, and Wave Stone Properties.
These innovative designs are bringing notoriety to Sunny Isles Beach. The latest in ultra-luxury living is being designed and built right here. The Porsche Tower for one is being discussed worldwide with their innovative car elevator and glass walled garage that turns your automobile into art that you can admire from your living room. The Muse features technologically cutting edge security and services within your home, attracting an international clientele. Regalia, standing magnificently at the north end of the City offers a wraparound balcony for every apartment. Where else can you live 30 stories in the air and walk around your home! Coming soon, Estates at Acqualina is designed as a full community of luxury living with its own recreational amenities such as ice skating, bowling, a movie theater and simulators for golf, racing and surfing exclusively for the enjoyment of their residents and guests.
Frank Lloyd Wright wrote: “The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization.” These architects and their designs, created in cooperation with the developers, approved by the City Commission at site plan approval, are defining our community for today and well into the future. Structurally with deep roots and solid foundations, they are the art that is exposed to all and shared by millions. The architects that have contributed to this transformation include: Arquitectonica, BC Architects, CFE Architects, Kobi Karp, Carlos Ott, Sieger Suarez, and Robert Swedroe.
The end result is a tax base that now exceeds ten billion dollars. Ten times that from the date of incorporation and still growing. This provides for a lower millage rate for all while funding City services to remain responsive to our distinguished residents.