South Beach’s two square miles on the southern tip of Miami Beach make urban living intimate and walkable. This fantasy world, favored by celebrities, models and people from around the globe, is played out against a backdrop of colorful whimsical Art Deco buildings and one of Florida’s best beaches.
On this stage residents and visitors enjoy the same alluring lifestyle: relaxing poolside or beachside, lunching at umbrella-shaded tables on Ocean Drive or Lincoln Road, even zipping around town on ‘blades or bikes. Beyond the sun and surf, is a city packed with cultural venues, renowned restaurants, superior shops and entertainment centers buzzing around the clock. The Art Deco District, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, boasts the largest concentration of 1920s and1930s architecture in the world and a South Beach, extending north to about 23rd Street, and east to west from the Atlantic Ocean to Biscayne Bay, offers vertical living in a choice of glittering glass waterfront condominium; luxury space in a vintage building or studio or loft in a lovingly-restored historic edifice. Distinctive vintage and modern houses featuring Art Deco, Mediterranean or contemporary architectural style range from coral-rock cottages to family-size homes and grand mansions.
South of Fifth (Street) at the southernmost tip of South Beach has emerged as a chic, quiet and prestigious alternative to the busier area a few blocks north. The luxury high- rise buildings rimming the triangular neighborhood have wonderful water views of the Atlantic Ocean to the east or Biscayne Bay on the west.
Decades ago, modest low- rise apartments and the Miami Beach dog track occupied the area called South Pointe. The section of waterfront property known as the “Alaska Parcel,” was originally ceded to an Inuit tribe of Alaskan natives as part of a federal settlement when the Government Cut waterway to the Port of Miami was created. Over the years, several costly redevelopment plans were proposed including one, in the 1970s, that proposed flooding South Pointe and building canals to transform it into a Little Venice.
South Pointe Tower, the first luxury high rise in the area was built in 1987 followed by Portofino Tower in 1997. In the following years, developers began to focus on south of Fifth Street as the prime location for luxury high-rises such as Murano at Portofino, Murano Grande, Icon and Apogee along the waterfront. Continuum South tower built in 2002 took luxury and prestige to a new level when its units achieved record, high prices per square foot. Restaurants and boutique hotels add to the South of Fifth vibe together with a large-store shopping center at the entrance to the MacArthur Causeway. Miami Beach Marina, the Penrod complex with Nikki Beach Club, and Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant are neighborhood landmarks.