By my personal experience, most clients or prospects for purchase of properties on the beach in South Florida, are either Canadian, South American, or European. We see Croatians, German, Mexicans, French, Venezuelan, Argentineans, Swiss, you name it. For a few Latin-American buyers, it’s an alternative harbor in case of “escape” from crime-riddled cities, kidnap-friendly environments, left-wing-socialist-leaning governments, or just a place for regular vacations. I haven’t had a lot of exposure to Asian buyers, but they are starting to show.
However a stream of investors from the Northeast US is a very active factor. They are either looking to divest from stock market investments, or looking for a safer haven for their retirement savings, or just trying to combine the pleasure of maintaining a vacation residence to escape a few days from the harsh northern winter every year, as well as a sensible investment in something that they consider a long-term value.
For most European and Canadians the US is still considered a safe refuge for capital and investment. Americans travel and marvel about European historical cities and monuments, cathedrals and bucolic villages. European always dream of immensity, freedom, space and a less regulated world when they think of the United States. Canadian usually bad-mouth us plenty, but by the quantities that we usually see a few months every winter, they still kind of adore our country.
Russians love this place. As a realtor, I don’t see too much of their traffic, since they seem to cater to their own people. I wish I could add Russian to the languages I can juggle. Russians have a preference for Sunny Isles and Hallandale; for some reason or just because some of the first post-perestroika immigrants landed here. There is no doubt that both areas have changed a lot during the last decade. Hallandale is no more a retirement club or an “antechamber to death” as it was cruelly labeled sometimes. It has rejuvenated so much that you can almost drive safely here, without so many big Cadillacs driven by minuscule octogenarian ladies hidden behind a humongous steering wheel.
The Diplomat Mall has disappeared and substituted by a very attractive shopping center with trendy restaurants, pizzerias, supermarkets, bakeries and Starbucks. Even good discount department stores alternate with dollar stores and Chinese buffets.
The casino is a reality. It is not yet the Las Vegas of the South, but it is progressing. A tremendous Gulfstream Village, which would like to compete with Aventura, is on its way; although some eternal pessimists affirm that it’s a white elephant. The horse races are still a great entertainment during the whole winter.
And then Hallandale has the beach. Not the best one around, but still very nice and so close to the Hollywood Beach and its boardwalk. The beach, for us Floridians who almost hate the sun as much as a mother-in-law (she can be a pain, but we have to learn how to force ourselves in loving her), is not a place where we can spend more than a very few days of the year. That’s why we can’t never quite understand the enthusiasm of these Montreal visitors or ex-Soviet-citizens when they can’t settle for anything but “something on the sand with some water views”.
The Beach Club, which is our next topic is a different story. For me, as a realtor, recommending it is a gamble. But it costs nothing to suggest this great development.
Some clients would hate it at first sight. They just do not like the sheer size of it. Too many units, too many people in the elevators, too many younger gals and boys in the pool area, and much more, if you please. For other of my customers it’s “amor a primera vista”. If you haven’t absorbed any Spanish yet, that means that it’s exactly what they want.
They like the social life, they like the continuous show of kids and tourists and almost-supermodels, and French-speaking families, new faces, old ladies with their poodles, Russian-speaking janitors, Spanish Valet-Parking attendants. And they love this monstrously large pool area where you can choose a different pool every day during your whole vacation: so many pools of all sizes, on a high floor, facing the beach, where you can also choose once in a while to get a plunge in the ocean. A bunch of chaise-lounges where you can just rest your tired bones and enjoy the show, if you are my age. The cafeteria where you buy this beer that gives you an excuse to meet a friend.
And then, there is this tremendous spa. With all the goodies: the cold water mini-pool, the massages, the steam room, the Jacuzzi and the sauna; the real thing.
And then, at the Beach Club there is this two-floor gym which is called “fitness center” and I understand why. Dozens of mysterious weight machines, treadmills facing the water, large inflatable color balls used only by gorgeous girls, bikes, inclines and steppers, this is a comforting paradise of how we are going one day to really take care of our body.
The Beach Club apartments themselves are also a matter of take-it-or-leave-it. They are open and you won’t find many corners if that’s what you like. The kitchen was conceived as part of the entertainment area. Again, you must be a social person at the Beach Club. Can’t have a quiet dinner in an separate dining room; you will have to do it watching this cute lady guest admiring the water views with your best friend, or your cousin’s kid playing ball behind this art work that just cost you a fortune, or your sister discussing the president’s politics sitting on the kitchen’s countertop. It’s still fun, you have to admit. Unless you just hate all that and would rather do it in a more traditional fashion.
Nobody can deny, though, that these floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors at the Beach Club are a killer feature. In most of the units you will get some exposure to the water. But if you are lucky and landed an apartment with a frontal ocean view, you will almost feel the coldness of the water, while you admire a speedboat racing at the distance. You are in a glider in the clouds above the waves. It is glorious. And the view is in nearly every room.
Can you imagine yourself living in any other building than the Beach Club?
If you can, you will have to read my future articles on the Ocean II building or the Jade Condos in Sunny Isles. But that’s another story.
My main purpose today was to explain why these International visitors tend to like Hallandale and the Beach Club.