Real Estate

Miami’s real estate ‘king’ tells Council of purchase and big plans for the Sands Beach Resort | Key Biscayne

It’s one of Key Biscayne’s last connections to “yesteryear.”

Now, Terra Group CEO David Martin, the proclaimed “King of Miami” when it comes to real estate development, plans to turn the Silver Sands Beach Resort, a quaint motel built in 1956 at 301 Ocean Drive, into a modern 56-residential, climate-resilient condo with a floating beach bar.

The Village Manager, Steve Williamson, received that news in a letter dated May 13, which he read aloud at Tuesday night’s Village Council meeting.

Martin wants to meet Village Council officials at a workshop, likely on. June 18 or 20 at 6:30 p.m.

He wrote that the building would be constructed “responsibly” to match the current 56 motel rooms, even though those rooms could actually accommodate as many as 110 rooms. The 56 units would actually be less than the municipal code allows, and the building would be patterned after “Stiltsville,” some of those resilient structures still seen standing tall in the deep waters of Biscayne Bay.

In addition, Martin would offer “improved” beach access for the community while developing “a new standard of coastal living” at the Silver Sands site, nestled between the high-rise Key Colony and Oceana complexes.

Property records show that Silver Sands was last sold in 1991 for $6,400,000. According to the Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser’s Office, the market value for the 22,473-square-foot property as of 2023 was $71,143,960. The land lot is 164,875 square feet.

As of Tuesday evening, there was no selling price available for this latest transaction.

Meanwhile, Village officials were working on a Zoning in Progress provision under Florida law that establishes minimum standards for new or rebuilt structures to allow for “reasonable accommodation” for a percentage split of commercial and residential mixed-use areas under the Live Local Act. A measure by the Village Council, which approved a first reading of an ordinance in June, would add a layer of protection against affordable housing developers.

Miami businessman Edward Claughton Jr. opened the Silver Sands Beach Resort: Sandbar Restaurant & Lounge in 1956 with 56 rooms and cottages. The family-friendly retro resort was known for its lushly landscaped courtyard and glistening blue swimming pool, where many “Key Rats” learned to swim.

Lots of memories have been rekindled at the restaurant, popular for its Key Lime pie and push-button cascading window washer, but Hurricane Andrew destroyed the Sandbar and the Eagle’s Nest Lounge in 1992.

Martin, who founded Terra Group in 2001 with his father, attorney Pedro Martin, has said he never wanted to be a “traditional developer.” Martin grew up in Coconut Grove, where his company is based.

Martin’s first big project there, the Grove at Grand Bay, debuted a year ago: two 20-story twisting glass towers.

As CEO, he has developed 5 million square feet of residential and commercial real estate valued at more than $8 billion. Martin oversees several facets of Terra’s business, including real estate development, design, construction, marketing, sales and leasing.

The group’s featured properties include Villa Miami, Five Park, Mr. C Residences, The Well Bay Harbor Islands, Botaniko Weston, Park Grove, Grove at Grand Bay, Eighty Seven Park, Glass, and Atlantic 15.

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