Last week a group of Italian students and I were chased off of the property of the "Apogee" condominium tower in the southernmost tip of South Beach. The security guard told us it was a "private, very private building." In fact we were not allowed to step off the sidewalk onto the circular driveway. Geeez. Four condo towers stand between the urban grid of Miami Beach and South Pointe Park, a beautiful terminus to the island designed by Hargreaves and Assoc. Landscape architects. The public has access via two streets that cut between the towers, a beach walk and a bay walk.
|Entrance to Apogee, a very private residence|
What struck me was that this well-defended private property, standing so aloof from the city, was also empty. Luxury condos are often kept as pieds-a-terre for wealthy people who live elsewhere. The buildings remind me of multi-story boat storage scaffolds, which hold hundreds of boats that people rarely use. The condo towers similarly stand waiting for their inhabitants to return.
The city responds in kind, offering very little to the zombie towers. A few pricey restaurants have set up either inside the towers or nearby, but one cannot find a cup of coffee or slice of pizza short of several blocks away. The location is so exclusive that almost everyone goes elsewhere.