Grove Isle

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Grove Isle
Grove Isle lies in Biscayne Bay, Miami, Fl.
Grove Isle lies in Biscayne Bay, Miami, Fl.
Coordinates: 25°44′09″N 80°13′07″W / 25.7359339°N 80.2186599°W / 25.7359339; -80.2186599Coordinates: 25°44′09″N 80°13′07″W / 25.7359339°N 80.2186599°W / 25.7359339; -80.2186599
CountryUnited States
CountyMiami-Dade County
NeighborhoodCoconut Grove
 • Total0.03125 sq mi (0.0809 km2)
Highest elevation
6 ft (2 m)
Lowest elevation
3 ft (0.9 m)
Time zoneUTC-05 (EST)
ZIP Code
Area code(s)305, 786

Grove Isle is a 20-acre (81,000 m2) island lying off the north-east coast of Miami's Coconut Grove neighborhood. Three waterfront hi-rise residences have been built on the island which were master-planned to include a resort hotel, restaurants, marina, club amenities and services.


Fair Isle (now Grove Isle) lying off Miami's Coconut Grove coast in 1928

First known as Fair Isle, its land was dredged out from Biscayne Bay in 1924[1][2] by the Corps of Engineers[3] and subsequently subdivided in 1925.[4][5] Many artificial islands of the period, such as Fair Isle, were formed when artificial inlets were cut into Biscayne Bay's coastline.[6] The isle was then sold to investors at the height of the Florida Land Boom in less than four hours and for over $1.5 million.[7][8] A combination of real estate crash, freight blockades and hurricane damage during 1925–26 stalled further property development of Miami and the island.


Miami's Grove Isle Condominium, Club and Marina

The island remained largely untouched—a large sand bar covered with Australian Pines—until large scale development came to Coconut Grove in the late 1970s and early 1980s.[9][10][11]The island was purchased for $6 million and restrictions on the island's development were finally agreed after protracted litigation over its size was settled in July 1977.[12][13] Cabot, Cabot and Forbes of Massachusetts were one of the principal sellers of the island.[12] Martin Margulies and Sun Bank of Miami were its eventual buyers and subsequently invested $100 million to develop the property.[14][15]

Burton Goldberg, the notorious Miami nightclub impresario,[16][17] had previously hoped to make the island's "sailboat key" club and residential project the largest in South Florida.[3][12] His development ended in foreclosure having been stalled by legal battles with stakeholders and residents.[3][18][19] The design was significantly reworked and Margulies' scaled-back development was finally completed in 1982. Off-island Club membership was also agreed so its amenities would be enjoyed by the wider community.[12] The project finally consisted of three residential towers, a hotel and club,[20][21] deep-water marina,[22][23] pools, professional tennis club, original art and sculpture gardens.[24][25] The Grove Isle development set the standard for high-end Miami property.[26][27]

Grove Isle lies in parts three feet above sea level.[28] Repairs to its drainage system were included as part of the condominium's re-certification project.[29] [30]


The expansive gardens of Grove Isle, Miami

Grove Isle provides one of the most secluded spots to live in Miami and is highly prized "by residents for its tranquillity and panoramic bay views".[31] Its residents have included past Heads of State, Senators, judges, lawyers, doctors, corporate leaders, entrepreneurs and philanthropists.[32][33][31] Grove Isle has been described as one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the United States.[34]

The Palmeiras Beach Club and Hotel, Spa, Grove Isle Marina and Cliff Drysdale Grove Isle Tennis Club were located on the island.[35][36] The world-class Grove Isle Sculpture Garden once comprised part of the island's landscaped design.[37][38][39] The three residential towers' interior designs were unique in the area for their Asian themes and accents.[20] The island club restaurant, operating under the name of Baleen and then Gibraltar, were well regarded in their time.[40][41][42]

The island's wide open spaces and expansive tree canopy are valued highly by its residents.[43][44] The gardens and decks of Grove Isle were replanted after damage received from Hurricane Irma in September 2017.[45][46] Major renovations to improve the structural and aesthetic integrity of the three towers, their decks and the gardens were also undertaken.[45] The retention of the island's tree canopy and its mature trees remain a priority for many on Grove Isle and in Coconut Grove.[43][47][48]

A further residential development on the site of the Island's hotel and club was first proposed in 2013.[31][49]


Grove Isle residents meet with developer representatives in October 2014

Competing visions for Grove Isle’s future have at times embroiled the island in controversy. Its 1980 development was only permitted under a landmark settlement after the project was significantly scaled back over a decade of litigation and protest.[12][13] A further proposal to develop the island’s yacht club also ended up in court due to concerns about its environmental impact.[4][50][51] The residents association also worked to protect the island against the impact of a high-rise project on an adjacent Mercy Hospital site.[52][53]

More recently, attempts to close the island’s club were halted by court order in August 2015.[31][54][55] This was linked to efforts, first started in 2013, to build a further residential development on the island.[31][56][57] Residents' efforts to retain the island's hotel, which was put at risk by the new development plans, resulted in litigation in 2017.[58][59] The Grove Isle club and hotel were demolished in 2020.[60][61][62]

Issues regarding club membership rights, the quality of club amenities, city planning laws, and further development plans for the island (at 4 Grove Isle) have required legal intervention.[63][58][64][65]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ During the boom years of the early 1920s the spoil bank that would become Fair Isle (now Grove Isle) was created when an "L" shaped canal and channel were dredged in the area. In 1924 a wooden bulkhead was constructed around the spoil bank and the area was filled to a 2 foot elevation (Voss, 1974)
  2. ^ National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science National Ocean Service (2000) Biscayne Bay: Environmental History and Annotated Bibliography. Maryland: NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, p. 65 & pl. 74 (Fair Isle)
  3. ^ a b c "Club on Sailboat Key Slated - Plush Condominium Project". The Naples Daily News, Naples, Florida. 1972-11-12. p. 50. Retrieved 2017-09-04.
  4. ^ a b Voss G. (1974) Biological survey and development recommendations for Fair Isle, Biscayne Bay, Fla. Unpublished manuscript. University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Miami, FL. 15 pp. and A. Cantillo, K. Hale, E. Collins, L. Pikula and R. Caballero (2000) Biscayne Bay: Environmental History and Annotated Bibliography, NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS CCMA 145, p.65
  5. ^ Hailey, C. (2013) Spoil island: reading the makeshift archipelago, Lanham, Md: Lexington Books, p.173-229
  6. ^ "East Florida's Barrier Islands: Natural vs. Man-Made; By Dr. Charles W. Finkl | Coastal Care". Retrieved 2018-04-23.
  7. ^ Ballinger, J. Kenneth (1936) "Miami millions: the dance of the dollars in the great Florida land boom of 1925, Miami, Fla.: Franklin Press, p. 126
  8. ^ Turner, G. M. (2015) Florida land boom of the 1920s, Jefferson NC: McFarland & Company, p.22
  9. ^ A surge of commercial development was driven by three major residential complexes in Coconut Grove during the late 1970s and early 1980s: Yacht Harbour Condominiums in 1975; Grove Isle, a condominium and hotel complex, in 1979; and L'Hermitage in 1980. This was followed with the opening of 2575 S. Bayshore in 1982 and the 1983 opening of Grove Towers. Laurie Baum (1984) The New Face of Coconut Grove, Miami Herald, The (FL) - August 27, 1984, Page number: 1BM Record: 8403030190; Fair (Grove) Isle was expanded in the 1960s [Wanless et al. (1984) Sources and circulation of turbidity, Biscayne Bay, FL. Final report to Sea Grant and Dade County, 499 p]
  10. ^ Local efforts made to convert the island into a park for $8 million failed at the ballot box in 1970. Source: details provided by Seth Sklarey, Coconut Grove Village Council member, at Miami District 2 Candidate Commissioners Presentations on Grove Isle, April 15, 2015.
  11. ^ Thomason, John (2020-01-30). "Loco for Coconut Grove". Boca Magazine. Retrieved 2020-02-14.
  12. ^ a b c d e The local community had been in total opposition to the development and expressly the over-development of the island with a plan to build four 40 story towers with 2000 units and 1500 parking spaces. Further detail regarding these policy and political discussions may be found at GI DOCS Note: large document (accessed Jan 30 2016. See also terms set out in Final Settlement of 27 July 1977, Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Dade County, Florida, Case No. 73-6449
  13. ^ a b Moore Parks, A. and Bennett, B. (2010) Coconut Grove, Florida: Arcadia Publishing, p. 119-122
  14. ^ Herald Staff (1982) Grove Isle, Miami Herald, The (FL) - December 12, 1982, Page number: 1G Brian Blanchard (1982) The Grove Steps Up To A New Look, Miami Herald, The (FL) - November 18, 1982, Page number: 14
  15. ^ Disclosure Documents of Grove Isle, A Condominium. Note: large document
  16. ^ Rowe, Sean (1997-02-27). "Glorious & Notorious". Miami New Times. Retrieved 2017-09-04.
  17. ^ Farzad, Roben (2018-01-25). Hotel Scarface: Where Cocaine Cowboys Partied and Plotted to Control Miami. Transworld. ISBN 9781473525054.
  18. ^ Parks, Arva Moore; Bennett, Bo (2010). Coconut Grove. Arcadia Publishing. p. 122. ISBN 9780738586274.
  19. ^ Cohen, Howard (2016-11-19). "Sex, drugs 'n' disco. Mutiny Hotel's visionary, Burton Goldberg, dies at 90". Miami Herald.
  20. ^ a b Ronald John Gee, a London-born Coconut Grove resident of Gee & Martinez Architects, designed many of the buildings on Grove Isle. Fernandez-Rocha, P. (1997) Ronald John Gee, Designed Public Buildings, Miami Herald, The (FL) - March 9, 1997
  21. ^ The Grove Isle Hotel and Club would go on to become a member of the Relais & Chateau fellowship of individually owned and operated luxury hotels and restaurants (2001). The renown restaurant Baleen was also located at the Grove Isle Club.
  22. ^ Juanita Greene (1984) Private Marinas Wait For Grove Isle Ruling, Miami Herald, The (FL) - August 6, 1984
  23. ^ U.S. Army Engineers (1978) Grove Isle Marina, Miami: Environmental Impact Statement. Accessed February 2016
  24. ^ Helen L. Kohen (1994) A Center of Learning and Centre of Sculpture, Miami Herald, The (FL) - March 24, 1994, Page: 1G Record: 9401220979
  25. ^ Blumenthal, Ralph (1983-01-09). "Florida Condominiums: A Buyers Market". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-02-06.
  26. ^ Sandra Evans Teeley (1982) Florida's Upper Classes Escape to Fortified Living, The Washington Post, May 1, 1982, Page number: Real Estate; E21 Laurel Tielis (1982) Just 4 Years Old And Already A Business Showoff, Miami Herald, The (FL) - December 8, 1982, Page number: 4B
  27. ^ Ian Glass, Martin Margulies; His is the art of living well in a kingdom -- Grove Isle, The Miami News, August 12, 1981, p. C2
  28. ^ Cappucci, Matthew; Post, The Washington (2019-08-08). "Analysis: Sea level rise is combining with other factors to regularly flood Miami". Laredo Morning Times. Retrieved 2019-08-12.
  29. ^ "GROVE ISLE". DSS Condo. Retrieved 2020-08-22.
  30. ^ "Grove Isle Condominium -". Retrieved 2020-08-22.
  31. ^ a b c d e Viglucci, Andres (August 21, 2015). "Developer's plans roil Grove Isle tranquility". The Miami Herald.
  32. ^ Oppenheimer, Andres (March 22, 1989). "Panama's Ousted Leader Moves To Miami". The Miami Herald. p. 24A. Record: 8901210323.
  33. ^ Office of the Miami Dade County Property Appraiser's Registers
  34. ^ Higley, Stephen R. "High Income Urban Neighborhoods". The Higley 1000. Retrieved 2018-09-03.
  35. ^ Tom Falco (2015) Palmeiras Beach Club opening on Grove Isle, Coconut Grove Grapevine, November 25, 2015
  36. ^ Menache, J (2011) Grove Isle condo dedicates new dog park, Miami Herald The (FL), December 22, 2011
  37. ^ "Patronage Under Fire : A Case For Showcasing Living Artists - Art Antiques Design". Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  38. ^ "Developer Shows Heart". tribunedigital-sunsentinel. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
  39. ^ Harper, Paula & Katherine Jannach Hinds (1986) Contemporary Sculpture from the Martin Z. Margulies Collection - Grove Isle, Coconut Grove, Florida. Published by Margulies Collection, Coconut Grove, FL, 1986
  40. ^ "Baleen Returns to Miami a Decade After Closing". Eater Miami. Retrieved 2018-09-03.
  41. ^ Katel, Jacob (2010-03-23). "Behind the Line: Gibraltar on Grove Isle". Miami New Times. Retrieved 2018-09-03.
  42. ^ "Gibraltar". 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2018-09-03.
  43. ^ a b "Grove Watch Group - Preserving The Nature and Character of The Grove". Grove Watch Group. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  44. ^ "Grove Isle project risks damaging neighborhood". Grove Isle. 2014-05-17. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  45. ^ a b GroveIsle123. "Updates on the construction - Summaries of the Valet & Design Committees". Grove Isle 123 brings you the news. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  46. ^ "At messy Coconut Grove marinas, most boats intact — but some not so lucky". miamiherald. Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  47. ^ GroveIsle123. "Design Committee Notes on the Meeting Page". Grove Isle 123 brings you the news. Retrieved 2018-07-14.
  48. ^ "Gibraltar". 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
  49. ^ savegroveisle (2014-01-31). "Grove Isle residents seriously challenged by proposed high density development". Preserve Grove Isle. Retrieved 2020-10-12.
  50. ^ "Apathy reigns and Biscayne Bay pays the price". Retrieved 2017-02-05.
  51. ^ "Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve Management Plan". Retrieved 2016-12-06.
  52. ^ "Coconut Grove, 300 Grove Bay, Jorge Perez, Manny Diaz". Retrieved 2017-06-07.
  53. ^ "Coconut Grove Grapevine: Zoning Board turns down Mercy request for rezoning". Retrieved 2017-06-07.
  54. ^ "Miami Private Island Developer Ordered To Keep Club Open - Law360". Retrieved 2016-12-06.
  55. ^ "Judge Grants Luxury Condo Owners Rights to Miami Club". Daily Business Review. Retrieved 2016-12-06.
  56. ^ "Demolition on the Horizon for Grove Isle Hotel & Palmeiras Beach Club". 2016-08-25. Retrieved 2017-02-05.
  57. ^ "GROVE ISLE: One if by land and two if by sea redux". Grove Isle. 2014-06-25. Retrieved 2018-06-04.
  58. ^ a b PRESERVE GROVE ISLE, LLC VS GROVE ISLE YACHT & TENNIS CLUB, LLC ET AL, 2017-007277-CA-01, 03/27/2017
  59. ^ "The Markers Grove Isle Coconut Grove; High Luxury or Hype?". Lux Life Miami Blog. 2018-02-02. Retrieved 2018-04-23.
  61. ^ "Palmeiras Beach Club at Grove Isle Permanently Closed".
  62. ^ "Coconut Grove Condo Project Causing Conflict". Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  63. ^ "Noble House Grove Isle Hotel & Club Truths". Retrieved 2016-12-06.
  64. ^ GroveIsle123. "Grove Isle Legal Committee Reports. See below". Grove Isle 123 brings you the news. Archived from the original on 2018-07-30. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  65. ^ "Grove Isle developers face new lawsuit over proposed project". The Real Deal Miami. 2019-11-19. Retrieved 2019-11-21.
  66. ^ Bell, Maya (October 9, 1994). "A Gallery Without The Walls". Orlando Sentinel.

Bibliography and further reading[edit]

  • Final Settlement of 27 July 1977, Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Dade County, Florida, Case No. 73-6449 copy accessed January 11, 2016
  • Margulies, M., Harper, P., & Varon, M. (1986). Contemporary sculpture from the Martin Z. Margulies collection: Grove Isle, Coconut Grove, Florida. Coconut Grove, Fla: Martin Z. Margulies Collection. 144 pp. [UM and FIU Libraries Special Collections]
  • Moore Parks, A. and Bennett, B. (2010) Coconut Grove, Florida: Arcadia Publishing, p. 128
  • Nepomechie, M., & Brooke, S. (2010). Building paradise: An architectural guide to the Magic City. Miami, FL: AIA Miami.
  • Voss G. (1974) Biological survey and development recommendations for Fair Isle, Biscayne Bay, Fla. Unpublished manuscript. University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Miami, FL. 15 pp.

External links[edit]