What can you buy for under $4 Million in Coral Gables?

If you're THE City of Coral Gables, these five properties:

  • 807 Catalonia Ave - vacant corner lot with 13,464 sq ft
  • 241 Sarto Ave - vacant corner lot with 5,000 sq ft
  • 937-939 Majorca Ave - vacant corner lot with 14, 314 sq ft
  • 6540 Marlin Drive - vacant corner lot with 19,025 sq ft
  • 1047 Venetia Ave -  8,250 sq ft interior lot with a home built in 1946 that will be demolished

The five properties were purchased last week by the City of Coral Gables for approximately $3.6 million as part of the City's Neighborhood Renaissance Program. The lots will be redesigned as pocket parks to provide additional green space for Coral Gables residents.

That brings the tally of properties purchased as pocket parks to seven over the last six months. 

Sherman's Oak

You may recall that the City bought two lots at 1013 and 1015 Lisbon St from a developer for $900,000 last December, saving Sherman's Oak (a 125-year old oak tree named after longtime Coral Gables resident, Sherman Reynolds) from a bulldozer and us from a McMansion.

The City plans to meet with the residents in the surrounding area to discuss plans for the parks.

What are Pocket Parks?

Pocket parks, also known as passive parks, are small outdoor spaces, usually no more than 1/4 of an acre surrounded by houses on small lots. They provide a safe and inviting environment and serve as a small event space, play area for children, and a public space to meet with neighbors and friends.

The National Recreation and Parks Association lists the following four key qualities for successful "pocket parks":

  1. They are accessible.
  2. They allow people to engage in activities.
  3. They are comfortable spaces and have a good image.
  4. They are social places where people meet each other and take people to when they come to visit.

According to City Manager Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark, "These properties met the requirements of having the ideal size and location, where residents could enjoy a moment of play and relaxation, without the need to cross a busy road. The next step is for City staff to engage in conversations with the neighbors to understand what they would like in these pocket parks. We are committed to working together with our residents to provide safe green spaces that enhance the natural landscape of Coral Gables."

Positive Effects on Residential Property Values

Numerous studies have found that urban parks, natural areas, and preserved open spaces have generally shown positive effects on property values.

A study conducted in Greenville, SC, found that attractively maintained small and medium parks have a positive influence on neighboring property values. However, it also found that such parks that are not improved or well-maintained had negative impacts on residential property values.

Keeping the parks clean, maintained, and in use by area residents, is a major key for these new pocket parks to serve as the lungs of City Beautiful.

For more information on these future pocket parks, contact Coral Gables Parks and Recreation at 305-460-5620.