Aventura, Florida is a planned, suburban city located in northeastern Miami-Dade County. The city name is from the Spanish word for "adventure," and was named "Aventura" after one of the developers of the original group of condominiums in the area remarked to the others, "What an adventure this is going to be."
The city was initially developed from 1970 to 1980 as a mainly high-rise residential area. Over the years, Aventura has grown into a city of its own— with the high-end Aventura Mall, (the fifth largest mall in the U.S.), AMC movie theatre and shopping centers like Nordstrom, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, JC Penney, Sears and Equinox providing retail and entertainment venues for residents. The mall has over 10,000 free parking spaces for residents and visitors.
According to the U.S. Census estimates of 2010, the city had a population of 35,762. Aventura is known for having a high percentage of Jewish residents and the 17th highest percentage of Brazilian residents in the U.S., according to the 2000 Census.
A Young Planned Community
The area around Aventura, which has adopted the moniker, “The City of Excellence” was initially referred to as Turnberry. Aventura became an incorporated city in 1995. The Aventura Police Department was formed in 1997. It has an extremely hot (no pun intended!) condo market. There are more than 40 condo developments within its borders and several spanking new projects on the drawing board. Condominiums range in price from the low $250,000 into the multiple millions of dollars.
One such fancy new project is the Echo Aventura, a $160 million luxury condominium going up on Biscayne Bay just outside of Miami. The 190-home Echo Aventura is being developed by Property Markets Group and JDS Development Group, both New York-based firms with offices in Miami. Construction which began in June is anticipated to be wrapped up by 2015, Kevin Maloney, PMG’s chief executive, recently told The Real Deal. PMG also has two other condo projects in the works in South Florida—the 24-home exclusive Sage Beach in Hollywood Beach and 95th on the Ocean consisting of seven four-story residences in picturesque Surfside.
Aventura is committed to going green. In January 2011, the Florida Green Building Coalition recognized the city and certified it with a Green Local Government Certification at the silver level for demonstrated efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and help the environment.
The FGBC designates Green Cities and Counties for outstanding environmental stewardship. The program focuses on improving environmental performance through waste reduction, water conservation, air quality improvements and many other criteria.
The city is encouraging residents and condominium managers to participate in this effort. In April 2013, the city hosted a GO GREEN Expo and Symposium in conjunction with FirstService Residential, in which the newest cost-effective green and sustainability initiatives were unveiled. The multimedia event aimed to educate residents on the city’s goals and how they can incorporate green in their own high-rise or townhomne communities. An awards program was also held to recognize those communities that have reduced their energy usage and made a concentrated effort to promote sustainability.
Controversy and Scandal
Aventura is home to the luxury resort Turnberry Isle, where the yacht Monkey Business was docked during the Gary Hart/Donna Rice incident, which contributed to Hart ending his 1988 bid for the presidency. During the campaign, rumors began circulating that he was having an extramarital affair and Hart boldly dared members of the press corps to follow him around to disprove the allegations. Stories soon appeared in The New York Times and investigative reporters from the Miami Heraldbegan staking out his Washington, D.C. townhouse to find out if his alleged womanizing was true. A young woman was seen leaving his residence and stories later detailed a woman identified as Donna Rice as spending the night with Hart on his yacht in Florida. After the story broke and created national headlines, Hart bowed to the pressure and dropped out of the race.
In another political note, in early 2001, former President Bill Clinton delivered one of his first speeches after leaving the White House at Aventura-Turnberry Jewish Center. Aventura has a manager-commission form of city government. The City Commission is the city's legislature, while the city manager is the city executive.
The city is still recovering from from the remnants of Hurricane Wilma, which struck in 2005. The town’s library was decimated and had to be rebuilt. Terraces flew off of high rises and condos on high floors were flooded with many of their walls exploding into next-door apartments and adjacent hallways. Countless high rise windows exploded and electricity stopped.
Average price per square foot for homes in Aventura is around $271, an increase of 38.3% compared to the same period last year, according to real estate website Trulia.com. The median sales price for homes from June-August of this year was $271,000 based on 325 home sales. Compared to the same period one year ago, the median home sales price increased 23.2%, or $51,000, and the number of home sales increased 5.5%.
There are currently 1,479 resale and new homes in Aventura on Trulia, including 1 open house, as well as 437 homes in the pre-foreclosure, auction, or bank-owned stages of the foreclosure process. The average listing price for homes for sale was $618,413 for the week ending September 25, which represents a decrease of 0.6%, or $3,873.
So if you’re looking for an adventurous community in which to settle down, Aventura, Florida may be the start of a new chapter in your residential life.
Debra A. Estock is managing editor of The South Florida Cooperator.