Inside Miami's exclusive, high-security 'Billionaire Bunker,' where Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen paid $17 million for a mansion they're planning to demolish

Katie Warren/Business InsiderThe island’s residents are protected by a private 13-person police force that patrols the perimeter from the water and by land.

It’s been called the “Billionaire Bunker” and one of the “wealthiest, private, most secure communities in Miami Beach and the world.”

Indian Creek is a village of about 42 people on a tiny private island in Miami’s Biscayne Bay. Its “Billionaire Bunker” moniker stems from its wildly wealthy and high-profile residents, including billionaire investor Carl Icahn, supermodel Adriana Lima, and Spanish singer Julio Iglesias.

In the past couple of months, the island has gained some new high-profile residents, including Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen. The seven-time Super Bowl winner and his supermodel wife paid $US17 million for a mansion on Indian Creek that they’re planning to tear down and replace with a new, eco-friendly mansion, Page Six reported in December.

The news of Brady and Bundchen’s purchase followed reports that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner had dropped $US32 million on a waterfront lot on the exclusive island, which Insider reported on last year when Julio Iglesias put it up for sale.

In 2019, Insider got a tour of the island from Nelson Gonzalez, a luxury realtor and the senior vice president of EWM Realty International. Here’s what it’s like on the exclusive, high-security island.

Indian Creek is a village of about 40 residents on a tiny private island in Miami’s Biscayne Bay.

Google Maps

It’s been nicknamed the “Billionaire Bunker.”

The village’s 34 homes are built around the perimeter of the island, giving them all waterfront views. The centre is occupied by an 18-hole golf course and a country club.

“Indian Creek is an exclusive 300-acre island located on the beautiful waters of Biscayne Bay and recognised as one of the wealthiest, private, most secure communities in Miami Beach, and the world,” Michael Light, the founder of Miami Luxury Homes and senior director of luxury sales at Douglas Elliman, wrote on his website.

In May 2019, when I got an exclusive tour of Indian Creek Village, I arrived at the island in an Uber. We were stopped at the guardhouse before even getting on the island.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

My name was on a list of expected guests, so I didn’t have a problem getting in.

Indian Creek’s police department monitors the only entrance to the island.

Katie Warren/Business InsiderThe headquarters of the Indian Creek Village Police.

The island is protected by a private 13-person police force, according to my tour guide, Nelson Gonzalez, a luxury realtor and the senior vice president of EWM Realty International.

The force even patrols the perimeter of the island from the water.

Indian Creek Village is only accessible by car. A single bridge spans the waterway from Surfside.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

After we drove across the bridge, I was dropped off in the driveway of one of the island’s opulent mansions.

Homes in Indian Creek are rarely up for sale. At the time of my visit, there was only one house on the market: an eight-bedroom, Mediterranean-style mansion for $US24 million.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

I was able to take a tour and photograph the home because it’s for sale, but I wasn’t allowed to take photos of any other houses on the island.

The house sold for $US17 million in April 2020.

Though it was the only one on the market when I visited, houses in the village have been known to sell without being officially listed.

In February 2019, an Indian Creek estate that wasn’t officially on the market sold for $US50 million, breaking the record for the most expensive single-family home sold in the Miami area.

The Alexander Team of Douglas Elliman Real Estate

It was the second time the home broke that record, after selling for $US47 million in 2012, Insider’s Lina Batarags previously reported.

A pristine 18-hole golf course spans the centre of the island.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

The Indian Creek Golf Course is one of the prime golf courses in Florida, according to the website Top 100 Golf Courses.

“This is not one of the most accessible venues for the visiting golfer, so you’ll need to befriend a member to tee it up on the classical William S. Flynn-designed course here at Indian Creek, which dates back to the 1930s,” the website reads.

I wasn’t allowed to get out of the car and walk around the island, so I took photos through the windows.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

Gonzalez told me that the island is high-security and that the residents are very concerned with privacy. I spotted one of the private police cars patrolling the island about two minutes into my tour.

The island has just one street, Indian Creek Island Road. It’s bordered by lavish homes on one side and the perfectly manicured golf course on the other.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

Most of the village’s homes sit behind gates, partially shrouded from view by palm trees.

High-profile investors, Russian billionaires, professional coaches, models and singers, and even US senators have called Indian Creek Village home.

David LEFRANC/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)An Indian Creek Village home in 2001.

Among the wealthy people who have owned homes on the island are supermodel Adriana Lima, former Sears CEO Eddie Lampert, and now, NFL star Tom Brady and supermodel Gisele Bündchen.

One of the island’s most famous residents is the singer Julio Iglesias, who owns several properties on the island, Gonzalez told me.

David LEFRANC/Gamma-Rapho via Getty ImagesAn Indian Creek Village home belonging to Iglesias, photographed in 2001.

It’s one of his parcels that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are said to have bought for $US32 million.

In 2017, Iglesias was asking for $US150 million for four contiguous vacant lots he owns on the island. Together, the properties would offer 800 feet of water frontage.

The singer and actor Ricky Martin also lived on the island at one point, but it’s unclear whether he still does.

David LEFRANC/Gamma-Rapho via Getty ImagesMartin’s house in Indian Creek, pictured in 2001.

His home is “quite small compared to the houses of the area,” according to Getty.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn also calls the village home.

Heidi Gutman/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Icahn paid $US7.5 million for his 14,000-square-foot Indian Creek vacation home in 1997, according to Forbes.

Yet another notable resident of Indian Creek was Don Shula, former head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

AP Photo/Wilfredo LeeShula at his home in Indian Creek Village.

Shula, who died in May 2020, and his wife lived in a sprawling white house on the island for more than 20 years.

The Indian Creek Country Club, a sprawling Mediterranean-style structure, sits on the island’s southwest shore.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

“The Indian Creek Country Club is Miami-Dade County’s most exclusive, and controversial, private society,” Gus Garcia-Roberts wrote in the Miami New Times in 2011.

The clubhouse includes a swimming pool, a fitness centre, a massage and steam room, locker rooms, a bridge room, and a marina. It was built in 1929 by Maurice Fatio, the architect who designed many of the most famous estates in Palm Beach.

Next to the clubhouse is a massive banyan tree.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

Florida is one of the only places in North America where banyan trees, which are native to tropical Asia, can be found.

After my tour, I was driven back out of Indian Creek Village.

Katie Warren/Business Insider

While I’d expected a degree of security on the private island, I didn’t expect it to be quite at that level, from the 13-person private police force to the screening at the guarded gatehouse to the ban on setting foot outside the car or taking photos of the homes.

The island is really small – the driving tour took at most 20 minutes, and that was moving slowly with frequent stops.

The most telling detail of my short time on the island is that I don’t remember seeing a single civilian on the street or in the yards, but I saw at least two members of the police force.

So while the level of security is definitely, and understandably, a draw to wealthy residents, I found it to be a bit of a deserted island.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.