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Midtown Miami’s New Trader Joe’s Is Almost Ready To Open

Trader Joe’s roomy new Midtown Miami store, which began construction at Gio Midtown back last June, is racing toward completion, as can be seen by a quick stroll by the new space. Peek in the window, and the store looks practically, almost, just barely complete. All that’s seemingly missing is perhaps the last of the chain’s signature visual flourishes, taking the plastic off the cash registers, and well, stocking the shelves, and boom. Although the store (#794) still hasn’t announced an official opening date, the Big Bubble would not be shocked if it happens in the next week or two. Read on for a few interior photos, including a glimpse of the majorly big mural in the soaring entry.

Elegant South Grove Courtyard House Makes a Statement for $4 Million

In this real estate market, prices keep rising and rising to a point where it’s almost embarrassing to write about a property when in the back of your mind you keep thinking “you get THAT for THAT???” This is not one of those houses. Compared to some of the hovels on offer in Miami Beach for literally the exact same price, this rather stately and elegant home in South Coconut Grove doesn’t feel like its price, a cool $4 million, is extravagantly out of step with what’s on offer.

Located at 4191 S Lybyer Ave, the pronunciation of which your guess is as good as mine, the house was built in 1996 but looks much older, and has six bedrooms spread over a comfortable 4,222 square feet. Its biggest selling point, however, is a gigantic pool located behind a large privacy wall. The architect has pushed the residence to the rear of the property, merging front and back yards, and given the house two levels of elegant loggias. The home has a vaulted, double-height living room, oak wood floors, mahogany doors, bronze fixtures, and a detached guest house with its own entrance. It was listed for sale in March, and well, let’s see how it does, shall we?

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Tiny South Miami Shack Hides A Sleek Bachelor Pad Within

This unassuming cottage, with its raw, unifinished wood siding and unkempt jungle of a yard in South Miami, looks practically abandoned. Yet, the property, located at 6401 SW 42nd Terrace, hit the market four days ago for a not-immoddest $515,000. A lot of that asking price can be blamed on the 9,000 square foot corner lot, as well as the extremely frothy housing market we’re living in right now. But, inside this little 728 square foot house, you’ll find a swinging, subtropical bachelor pad.

The two-bedroom, one-bath house has a large living room with lots of wood details, sliding glass doors, and an open-plan kitchen. It’s just groovy for a couple of college-age roommates looking for a place with enough room to throw the occasional…. let’s just call them lubricated gatherings… in the back yard. Or do what the current owner does, and give yourself one bedroom while saving the other for your gaming set up and your shoes. According to the listing, it even comes with “2 guard cats” on the premises.

Vintage Newsreels from the ’80s Tell the Story of a Booming Miami.

The 1980 roared in Miami. Not only was the city’s image and identity transformed in ways both good and bad, mixing global glamour with global intrigue, but the city itself changed physically. In that decade Greater Miami saw a building boom, blending luxury condo towers with avant-garde architecture, new public amenities and institutions, and a flood of stylish, luxury hotels catering to different kinds of travelers than the old beachside hostelries of earlier.

A selection of original newsreels preserved by the Miami-Dade College’s Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives gives a good look at how Miami transformed in that halcyon era. At that time, Downtown Miami was seeing an early wave of revitalization, becoming more active and attractive to Miamians, with new shopping, restaurants, hotels, retail, government buildings, public institutions, and of course, offices. In 1982, the Downtown Development Authority counted 58 new projects in various stages of planning or completion in the urban core. It was enough to make Miami one of the premier cities in the country for urban development, according to a news reporter. At Downtown’s heart, a new cultural center with a massive public library and two museums was located next to a towering new Metro-Dade government center.

From Government Center, the city’s brand new elevated public transit systems sprouted. Both Metrorail, with one long line snaking across the county, and the Metromover, to get people around downtown, were built in the ’80s.

In 1985, sculptor Isamu Noguchi redesigned Bayfront Park. His plans were largely built, creating many of the elements of Bayfront Park you see today. A spectacular laser and fireworks show celebrated the opening.

A wave of new infrastructure to accommodate a booming city didn’t stop there. The rapidly expanding Miami International Airport, with its new terminals and people mover, was becoming a repository of an ever-growing public art collection. However, despite not being in an actual museum, it still required a ticket to see. A plane ticket, that is.

A new federal courthouse was built with an innovative design. And when Metro Zoo, now Zoo Miami, first opened, it was “perhaps the finest zoo in the country.” It may also have been the only completely cageless zoo in the US as well.

The ’80s were a huge decade for Miami’s hospitality industry too. Many old landmark hotels were demolished while new ones were built. The Key Biscayne Hotel and Villas, a hotel that was practically taken over by his entourage whenever President Ronald Reagan was in town, came down for the sake of something new.

The iconic Castaways Motel in Sunny Isles Beach was torn down as the city changed from a kitschy motel row to a vertiginous city of condo towers. But the just-as-historic Biltmore Hotel, the architectural grand dame of Coral Gables, got a meticulous restoration bringing it back to its old glamour.

There was a new last word in luxury lodging. In 1984 the chic Grand Bay Hotel opened in Coconut Grove, with old-world glamour and modern architecture. The hotel threw a decadent opening-night bash to rival them all. The Pavillon Hotel, now the Miami Intercontinental, brought French luxury to Downtown Miami. It was part of a complex of towers called the Miami Center, just a few blocks away from another megaproject also combining a hotel with offices and other uses, the James L. Knight Center.

As for that unmistakable 1980s Miami aesthetic, it was more a revolution than any evolution. And more than anybody else, the prolific architecture firm of Arquitectonica defined that fabulous sunny, cheeky, subtropical look. Just think of the introduction sequence of Miami Vice, celebrating the square hole in the middle of the Atlantis, a condo tower. It’s one of theirs.

Featured image: A cruise ship is set against the skyline of Downtown Miami in 1984. Photo courtesy Steve Martin/Flickr.