- Miami’s “Millionaires’ Row” is a stretch of waterfront in Miami Beach that was once a celebrity hotspot, home to coveted oceanfront mansions and luxury hotels.
- But the wealthy are no longer moving to this once-glamorous neighbourhood, which spans Collins Avenue between 41st Street and 62nd Street.
- Instead, younger money is choosing livelier, more walkable areas of Miami like South of Fifth, the Venetian Islands, and Sunset Harbour.
- I walked Miami’s “Millionaires’ Row,” and while I did see many luxury condos and hotels, there were no beautiful mansions and there was absolutely nothing to do.
- I couldn’t even find somewhere to buy a bottle of water.
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Not too long ago, the stretch of Collins Avenue in Miami Beach between 41st Street and 62nd Street was a celebrity hotspot, lined with lavish oceanfront mansions and hip luxury hotels.
But several real-estate agents I spoke to said that while the term is still sometimes used to refer to that area, the ultra-wealthy are no longer moving there.
“In the ’80s and ’90s, Millionaires’ Row was New York’s Central Park West,” Melissa Rubin, a broker-advisor for Compass in South Florida, told Business Insider, adding that the homes were elegant and the affluent flocked to the area.
Now, you can easily buy a condo on Millionaires’ Row for under $US1 million, and “it is not a location where the affluent are gravitating to,” Rubin said.
According to Dina Goldentayer of Douglas Elliman, it has to do with money getting younger.
“Those buyers – in their 30s and 40s – are strongly concerned by walkability,” Goldentayer said. “That is why communities like the Venetian Islands have boomed the last 5 years because of their proximity to the hip Sunset Harbour neighbourhood.”
On a recent trip to Miami, I spent an afternoon walking the stretch of Collins Avenue once dubbed “Millionaires’ Row.” Here’s what it looked like.
Miami’s Millionaires’ Row is a stretch of oceanfront in Miami Beach that was once a celebrity hotspot, lined with lavish oceanfront mansions and hip luxury hotels.
“In the ’80s and ’90s, Millionaires’ Row was New York’s Central Park West,” Melissa Rubin, a broker-advisor for Compass in South Florida, told Business Insider.
The buildings were elegant and the affluent flocked to the area, Rubin said.
Historian Paul George wrote in the Biscayne Times: “The ostentatious homes that made up this exclusive community were designed by the most prominent South Florida architects of the era. Many were designed in the popular Mediterranean style, featuring barrel-tile roofs, arches, twisted columns, and balconies.”
Millionaires’ Row spans Collins Avenue in Miami Beach from 41st Street to 62nd Street.
Real-estate agents I spoke to told me the area is no longer in its glamorous heyday.
“It is not a location where the affluent are gravitating to,” Melissa Rubin of Compass told me, adding that you can now easily find a condo for under $US1 million.
According to Dina Goldentayer of Douglas Elliman, the change has to do with money getting younger.
“Those buyers – in their 30’s and 40’s – are strongly concerned by walkability,” Goldentayer said. “That is why communities like the Venetian Islands have boomed the last 5 years because of their proximity to the hip Sunset Harbour neighbourhood.”
On a recent trip to Miami, I decided to spend the afternoon walking up Millionaires’ Row to see what it was like.
Collins Avenue is a wide avenue lined by palm trees and bordered by a narrow waterway to the west and luxury developments to the east.
My first thought was: Where are the mansions?
While Millionaires’ Row may have once been home to opulent single-family homes, now it seems to be mainly hotels and condominiums.
As I started walking north up Collins Avenue, I didn’t see many people other walking around.
The few people I passed seemed to be mainly tourists.
I noticed on my walk that a free trolley runs north to south on Miami Beach.
Later, overheated and parched, I would regret not having hopped on it.
Collins Avenue is home to the famous Eden Roc Hotel.
According to Rubin, the Eden Roc used to be a celebrity hotspot frequented by the likes of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin.
“Women in their beautiful gowns [and] gloves would stroll down the stairs in the Eden Roc to be seen in their glory,” Rubin said.
Rooms at the hotel now start at about $US225 per night.
There are plenty of other hotel options beyond the Eden Roc.
Apart from condominium buildings, hotels were really the only thing I saw on Millionaires’ Row.
At the Grand Beach Hotel, which was built in 2009 and renovated in 2018, rooms start at about $US190 per night.
Luxury yachts were clustered at several points along the waterway on Collins Avenue.
They weren’t nearly as large as some of the yachts I would later see at the Miami Beach Marina.
As I walked up Millionaires’ Row, I thought about what real-estate agents had told me about younger wealthy home buyers in Miami wanting to live in walkable neighbourhoods.
Collins Avenue did not seem very walkable to me.
With the cars rushing by and not much to look at apart from luxury high-rises, I felt like I was walking along a highway. It didn’t help that the sun was baking down on me and I had stupidly forgotten to bring a bottle of water.
At some point, the luxury condominiums all started to blend together.
Some of them had fountains or other decorative accents out front, but to me, they all looked more or less the same.
Condos in the Blue Diamond condominium range from $US777,000 to $US4.69 million.
Mendel Fellig of Compass told me the average condo on Millionaires’ Row now sells for between $US400,000 and $US1 million.
Some of the newer units or very large buildings have prices in the $US2 million to $US4 million range, he said.
In the Capobella, pictured above, available condos cost between about $US1.3 million and $US2.1 million.
Fellig said he still refers to the area as Millionaires’ Row to clients “as it’s such an important part of the history of Miami Beach.”
An hour or so into my walk, I was desperately thirsty, and I didn’t see anywhere around me where I might be able to buy something to drink.
I turned to trusty Yelp and Google Maps, searching for a grocery store, a café, a gas station – anything. To my surprise, there was … nothing.
According to the apps, there wasn’t a single place between 41st Street and 62nd Street on Collins Avenue where I could buy a bottle of water, which only reinforced my impression that the area wasn’t meant for pedestrians.
I kept walking, hoping I might come across a little corner store.
At that point, I was even on the lookout for somewhere I could just sit and rest in the shade for a few minutes.
Finally, as I got closer to the northern end of Millionaires’ Row, I came across a small waterfront park that offered some shade.
I sat on a bench and rested for a moment, thinking I could’ve ridden the free trolley all this way instead of walking and not missed out on anything.
From there, I passed more of the same: more hotels, more luxury condos.
MEi Condominiums was built in 2008 and includes 134 residences.
MEi condos range from $US599,900 to $US3 million.
While many of the developments on Millionaires’ Row seemed a bit outdated, there were some signs of new construction.
57 Ocean will include 71 “tropical modern residences,” vertical gardens, a spa and pool deck, and a fitness center, according to its website.
By the time I got to the end of Millionaires’ Row at 62nd Street, I was tired, extremely thirsty, and relieved to be able to go somewhere else.
While I’m sure the condos and hotels are quite luxurious, there was absolutely nothing to do on Millionaires’ Row unless you live there.
As Rubin said, younger buyers are looking for walkable neighbourhoods, and this stretch of Collins Avenue definitely isn’t that.
Rubin, Goldentayer, and other real-estate agents told me the younger money is moving to neighbourhoods like South of Fifth, on the opposite end of Miami Beach.
“It is no coincidence that South of Fifth is the top condo community in Miami and also the most pricey with sales hitting over $US3,000 per square foot,” Goldentayer said. “Here, residents don’t need a car as a 17-acre park, coffee shops, and top restaurants are the epicentre of the neighbourhood.”
After I spent a couple of hours walking around the South of Fifth neighbourhood, I could see why younger buyers would rather live there than on Millionaires’ Row.
South of Fifth was much more walkable and lively, but not overwhelmed with tourists like other parts of South Beach. The neighbourhood is home to popular luxury condominium buildings such as Continuum and Apogee.
It’s easy to find cafés, bars, restaurants, and bottled water – a stark contrast to Millionaires’ Row.
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