About Coconut Grove/Key Biscayne
Not only separated by geography, Coconut Grove/Key Biscayne also has two distinct historical backgrounds. Just south of Downtown sits Coconut Grove, Miami’s oldest continuously inhabited neighborhood. From the early 1800’s this magical place has attracted its share of artists, writers, musicians, tycoons – and a wide range of eccentrics and free spirits. “The Grove” has lured all types to its lush natural settings along the sparkling waters of Biscayne Bay.
In 1825 the first of several waves of immigration established Coconut Grove when the Cape Florida lighthouse went into operation. By the late 1800’s, an influx of Americans from the Northeast added to the growth of the area and the first hotel on the South Florida mainland – originally called the Bay View Inn and later renamed the Peacock Inn – was built on the site of present day Peacock Park. Coconut Grove’s first black settlement was established by Bahamian laborers who worked at the Peacock Inn, and eventually established some of the city’s oldest residential neighborhoods. The Barnacle Historic State Park, the oldest house in Miami-Dade County, was built in 1882 by “Commodore” Ralph Middleton Munroe and remains standing to this day. Another historic landmark is the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, an Italianate villa and estate, built as the home of early Florida pioneer and business magnate James Deering. The elaborate waterfront mansion and gardens is often referred to as the “Hearst Castle of the East.” Decades later – during the 1960’s – Coconut Grove became the center of South Florida’s youth counter-culture movement with its many hippies, love-ins, and concerts.
Separated from the mainland by Biscayne Bay, and sandwiched between two major parks – Crandon to the north and Bill Baggs to the south – is the beautiful village of Key Biscayne. During the first half of the 20th century most of the island was operated as the largest coconut plantation in the continental United States. In 1940, the Matheson family donated over 800 acres of land to Dade County to be used as a public park in exchange for an agreement to build a causeway to the island. In 1947 the Rickenbacker Causeway opened, connecting the key with Miami and finally allowing large scale residential development.
Key Biscayne is also remembered as the location of President Richard Nixon’s Florida White House. This compound, consisting of three waterfront homes, was purchased by the President in 1969. As the Watergate scandal unfolded, Nixon spent more and more time in seclusion at his island hideaway.
Picturesque Playground for Locals and Tourists
Today, with its miles of golden beaches, Key Biscayne is a picturesque blend of low-key local flavor, charming boutiques and restaurants, tony estates, and tourist destinations. Among the neighborhood’s unique attractions are the annual Miami Open (formerly Sony/Ericson Open), which has become one of the world’s largest professional tennis tournaments. Key Biscayne is also home to Miami Seaquarium and top-rated Crandon Park golf course.
Coconut Grove is one of the most eclectic and vibrant corners of South Florida. With its warm laid-back atmosphere and bohemian flair, the neighborhood is an ideal place to unwind and relax. Locals and tourists alike enjoy the charming boutiques, multitude of restaurants, and outdoor cafes. Known as one of the country’s sailing capitals owing to the many sailing clubs and yacht clubs along sparkling Biscayne Bay, Coconut Grove plays host to numerous annual regattas, including the renowned Orange Bowl Regatta. The area is equally well-known for its many outdoor festivals and events, the most prominent of which is the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, an annual three day juried exhibition featuring the works of hundreds of artists. Other popular events include the Great Taste of the Grove Food and Wine Festival, the King Mango Strut (an irreverent parody of the Orange Bowl Parade), The Annual Bed Race, and Goombay Caribbean Festival paying homage to the early Bahamian immigrants.
Booming Luxury Market
The Coconut Grove/Key Biscayne area is experiencing a residential building boom. Lured by prime waterfront locations and high real estate prices, investors and developers have poured capital into major residential projects. Luxury condominiums in the pre-construction phase or nearing completion include Oceana Key Biscayne, Park Grove, and the Grove at Grand Bay. The outlook for the Miami’s condo market is strong with rising prices and increased inventory. Condo median sales prices increased to $217,400 for the area as of 3Q 2015, while total sales dropped slightly due to fewer distressed sales.