Located on the northern tip of the barrier island known as Miami Beach, is the quaint community of Bal Harbour. With a population of around 3,500 people, the village was first dreamt of in the 1920s, when the Detroit-based Miami Beach Heights Corporation took ownership of 245 acres of undeveloped, swampy land stretching from the bay to the Atlantic. In the 1930s, city planners began designing the Village of Bal Harbour, but when World War II began in 1940, the plans were put on hold. The land was actually leased to the United States Air Corps for $1 a year, and was used to train soldiers and as a Prisoner of War camp. When the war ended in both Germany and Japan in 1945, The Air Corps left the barracks buildings which were later converted into apartments that housed the first residents of the community. The Village of Bal Harbour was incorporated on August 14, 1946, and the area has grown into what some call the American Riviera, full of world-class shops, chic waterfront hotels, exquisite dining, and luxurious living.
Internationally, Bal Harbour is known for their infamous shopping. Located in this quaint, tropical paradise is the upscale, open-air shopping mall, the Bar Harbour Shops. The Shops are owned by the Whitman family and is one of the last family-owned malls in the county. People travel from all over the world to enjoy the fine establishments which include Prada, Versace, Bulgari, Chanel, Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Neiman Marcus, Christian Dior, Gucci, Saks Fifth Avenue, Ungaro, Escada, Hermes, and Giorgio Armani. The Shops have operated at 100% occupancy for several decades and currently have a waiting list for other retailers. For decades now, Bal Harbour Shops have ranked #1 in the U.S in productivity, based on sales per square foot, and recently claimed the top of the international list too. Located within walking distance of the many oceanfront luxury condos in the Village, Bal Harbour Shops are a major attraction in the area.
Shopping not your thing? Not to worry! There’s something for everyone in this elite neighborhood. There is limited public access at the white sandy beaches in Bal Harbour, giving residents the sense of privacy and exclusivity. Stroll or jog on the $3 million waterfront path, or grab your snorkelling gear for a swim. You can even charter a boat for some deep sea fishing. Golfers have their choice of several championship golf courses, and yogis will enjoy classes right on the sand. If arts and culture are more your style, there’s plenty of film, literary and art events throughout the year, thanks to the 2009 Arts Initiative. And with world-class spas found right in the community, you can easily relax and be pampered after your busy day enjoying all that Bal Harbour has to offer.
The real estate opportunities in Bal Harbour are plentiful. Along the white sandy beaches and crystal clear ocean-front, you’ll find several luxury condominiums, including One Bal Harbour, St. Regis-Bal Harbour Residences, and Majestic Tower. On the other side of The Village, you’ll find Intracoastal single-family mansions with large lots and equally large square-footage. And in-between them both lie midcentury modern properties, that although located inland, are upscale and posh, making this community very sought-after and elegant. Nestled between Surfside and Sunny Isles, Bal Harbour is a quick drive to both South Beach and Fort Lauderdale, making convenience yet another perk of living in this popular neighborhood.