Even by Miami’s mega-watt standards, Indian Creek takes exclusivity to new levels. The tiny, molar-shaped Miami Beach island of less than half a square mile – half the size of Monaco and consisting almost entirely of golf courses – is where a roster of celebrities and tycoons, including Elle Macpherson, billionaire philanthropist Carl Icahn and, previously, Jay-Z and Beyonce, can hide away in huge waterfront estates overlooking Biscayne Bay.
Miami has no shortage of gated communities for the super-rich. But the very wealthy come to Indian Creek – nicknamed Billionaires’ Bunker – for privacy. There’s only one road in and out, via a guarded bridge to and from Miami’s swanky Surfside neighbourhood. And the island’s private police force, with one officer to every five residents, patrol the island day and night by boat, jeep and jet-ski.
“You have to be invited on to the island, and this level of security is unusual in Miami,” comments Jason Mansfield from Knight Frank’s US sales team, who, with their American partners Douglas Elliman, are marketing the only property currently on sale on Indian Creek: a 4,369 sq ft, four-bedroom mid-century house with ultra-modern interiors, priced $27.9m.
“It’s almost its own small country”, adds interior designer Nicola Fontanella of Argent Design, who has worked on several palatial residences on Miami Beach’s barrier islands, which include the similarly private Fisher and Star islands. “There are very few homes on Indian Creek and they carry an exceptional premium because they so rarely become available.”
Given such valued privacy, you can only imagine, then, that Indian Creek’s newest arrivals – one Ivanka Trump, and her property developer husband Jared Kushner – are bringing unwanted attention to the high-security hideaway.
The outgoing American president’s daughter and son-in-law are due to complete next week on the purchase of Lot 4: a $31.8m, two-acre plot with 200 feet of waterfront. Though shrouded in secrecy, it’s rumoured that their neighbour is the Emir of Qatar, whose $50m purchase of the house next door in August 2019 made it the most expensive sale in the county’s history.
The island’s newsworthy newcomer will be appreciated by one long-time Creek resident at least – the plot’s vendor, Julio Iglesias, who has been trying to sell this prime piece of waterfront land (one of four he owns on the island, worth a total $150m) for three years. It’s said he intended to build houses on them for his children, but his plan never came to fruition.
For the Kushners – who will build their own sprawling family home on the plot – the move is said to mark the start of their new life away from Washington, once Daddy leaves office. Manhattan isn’t an option – ‘Not Wanted’ posters bearing Ivanka’s face have sprung up across the city – and the couple have been house-hunting for months in Florida and New Jersey. Their new home on Indian Creek would be just an hour’s drive (or, far more millionaire Miami-style, a helicopter hop) from Donald’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach.
Property agents are reluctant to stick their head above the parapet on this one, but Mansfield says the political couple’s security is assured on Indian Creek. “It’s a very private place where people keep themselves to themselves,” he says.
With no shops on the island – residents go to nearby Bal Harbour for that – there’s no social hub beyond the Country Club. “It’s just big estates on particularly big lots,” says Mansfield. “It’s certainly not the case that hoards of people will be driving around looking for Ivanka’s house, as they simply won’t be allowed on the island.”
Ivanka’s move to Miami mirrors a wider migrational shift, adds Ian Reisner, vice president at Dezer Development, whose projects include the branded Residences by Armani/Casa on Sunny Isles Beach. “Businesses and individuals – particularly from New York – are re-evaluating where they want to live and they are moving to Florida because of the quality of life,” says Reisner.
Indian Creek’s residents may worry that their quality of life is temporarily in jeopardy, with the glare of the global spotlight on them due to the arrival of the First Daughter. But in a community of high-profile billionaires, with their personal police escorts on land and sea, that surely won’t be anything they can’t handle.
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