Palm Island and Hibiscus Island: Why Are They So Exclusive?September 19, 2016
Palm Island and Hibiscus Island are located off the coast of Miami in Biscayne Bay. Both islands are man-made landmasses with exclusive neighborhoods and high property values; they are only accessible via the MacArthur Causeway. Why are they so exclusive? The exclusivity of Palm Island and Hibiscus Island arises with their origin story, both with regard to the man who founded them and the reason they were created in the first place.
The History of the Islands
Palm Island and Hibiscus Island were both created when the Army Corps of Engineers, under the direction of Carl G. Fisher, dredged Biscayne Bay in 1922. Hibiscus was completed in 1922, and Palm was finished later that year along with Star Island.
Carl G. Fisher became involved in the bay-dredging project with the intent of developing the location of Miami Beach for wealthy industrialists of the North and Midwest to winter in. Miami Beach was perfect: Northerners had easy highway access, and there was plenty of untamed land to develop as a vacation destination. As the owner of the Miami Beach Railway, Fisher knew that industrialists from the Midwest were traveling to Miami Beach and he wanted a place for them to stay that catered to their luxury lifestyle.
The Rise of Palm and Hibiscus Island Real Estate
In 1915, before the formation of Palm and Hibiscus Islands, the only mansions on Miami Beach were those of the investors in the area. Fisher as well as John S. Collins, who originally invested in the bridge project to connect the mainland and the island, owned homes. When Miami Beach became a city in 1917 the location had three hotels, two bathhouses, an aquarium, and an 18-hole golf course.
In the 1930s, after the completion of the islands and the start of the Great Depression, Palm and Hibiscus Islands became the winter home of high-profile celebrities and movie stars. One of the most recognized for living in the area was Al Capone. This location became exclusive because only the wealthiest could purchase land on the islands at this time, and it was desirable for its views of the Miami and Miami Beach skylines, as well as prime water frontage.
In the 1940s and 1950s Palm Island was the site of the famous Latin Quarter Nightclub, which was owned by Lou Walters, father of Barbara Walters. This club furthered the high profile and exclusive status of the islands by drawing celebrity performers and entertainers for the winter crowds. Singers like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Tony Bennett became regular faces in the neighborhood.
The Islands Market Today
Palm Island and Hibiscus Island real estate is today more exclusive than ever, due to their access only through the Fountain Street bridge and because of the spectacular modern homes that have been built in recent decades. This, paired with the minimal square footage of the islands themselves, makes for some very prestigious addresses.
Celebrity homes include Al Capone’s home, which has been for sale several times, as well as the home of Scott Storch, a famed record producer, broadcast journalist Barbra Walters, and actor Nick Nolte, among others. Foreign investors and business people have also taken a liking to Palm and Hibiscus islands as private getaways in one of Miami’s most convenient island locations.
For more information on real estate opportunities in Palm Island and Hibiscus Island, please contact one of our luxury real estate specialists at ARIALuxeRealty.com or feel free to contact us at +1 (305)-791-0002.