After the 2008 economic collapse, Florida was arguably one of the hardest-hit states in the union. During the crisis, one private-island owner pulled his listing from the market – but signs of a recovery have renewed his hopes of finding a buyer.
While the thought of a tropical private island may ordinarily conjure up visions swaying palms and endless seas, as opposed to skyscrapers, North Island in Miami-Dade is still considered one desirable piece of real estate. In an affluent area where developable waterfront property is in short supply, Gary Cohen of the Cohen Family Trust has a unique offering – eight acres of prime land on a private isle in Biscayne Bay.
Listed at just under US $50 million, development plans are in place for a series of luxurious multi-million dollar homes. The island was originally on the market prior to the 2008 financial crisis, but Cohen, like many other real estate sellers, decided to pull the listing and wait for a recovery. According to an article in the Miami Herald, three years later, he believes that Florida’s market is finally seeing some signs of upward movement – particularly from international investors looking for once-in-a-lifetime deals.
That is, of course, if there is confidence that Florida’s real estate market has actually hit the bottom. Many economists and business analysts fear that if the proliferation of foreclosed, bank-owned properties is released into the market, it may depress prices further. At the very least, Cohen’s private island is in a far different category from many of these distressed assets; and the clientele that an eventual development would cater to have been far less impacted by the recession than the average homeowner.
North Island – which, along with its twin, the developed South Island – is actually a man-made island that dates from the 1950’s, and connects to the mainland via a causeway. The target buyer would be a major developer looking for a showcase, prestigious project that caters to wealthy clients – a key selling point of the island is that due to the dredging that created it, the surrounding waters are deep enough for docking a large yacht.
Neighbouring South Island is a likely template for the developer of North Island to follow; a luxurious enclave of 22 multi-million dollar mansions, where the private island settings allows for the kind of seclusion and privacy impossible to find on the mainland. Located off the coast of Aventura, a sleepy and affluent suburb in Miami-Dade County most famous for its eponymous luxury mall, the neighbourhood truly could not be better. Despite these advantages, the question remains whether an investor with deep pockets will be willing to make a bet on Florida’s recovery so soon.
Read the original Miami Herald article here: