December 14, 2017 | The Real Deal
By Francisco Alvarado | December 14, 2017 08:45AM
Coconut Grove has long played an important role in Miami’s transformation into a bustling metropolis.
Discovered in the early 19th century by mariners attracted to bubbling freshwater springs along its coastline, it was one of the city’s earliest settlements founded by maritime traders from the Bahamas and Europe. After its official founding in 1873, Coconut Grove went through several evolutions during the next 100 years to become a tropical oasis for artists, intellectuals and modern-day swashbucklers.
By the 1980s, the bohemian village began another metamorphosis into a hangout for teenagers cruising through Main Highway and Grand Avenue and college students partying at local bars and nightclubs. In 1990, the open-air retail center CocoWalk opened its doors, signaling a push to make Coconut Grove more commercial by bringing in national chains like The Gap and AMC Theatres.
However, competition during the early 2000s from burgeoning neighborhoods and retail districts in Brickell, South Miami and Coral Gables severely impacted Coconut Grove’s commercial appeal, driving tourists and locals away. There was also a lack of new residential development, causing buyer interest to wane in the neighborhood.
“I have worked in the Grove for the last seven years,” said Karen Elmir, a Realtor associate with Cervera Real Estate. “The market for condos was almost non-existent. It was hard to sell anything above $800 a square foot.”