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  1. #1
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    Default Where to move in central-ish Miami-Dade County?

    Hi everyone,

    I just accepted a position with AmeriCorps and and am moving down in a month--not a lot of time to find housing! I'll be working in either south or north Miami schools but don't find out exactly where until I move and go through some training. I was advised to try staying within 20 minutes of the downtown office location as I'll also be going there a good bit. It seems like Coral Gables, most of Coconut Grove, Brickell/Downtown area, Design District?, SoBe, or the rest of Miami Beach are the nicer/safer central areas to live , albeit a little pricey especially for a 3BR. I'll have 2 roommates and we'll all be on a tight budget, so it looks more like we'll be getting a 2BR which is fine. I'd rather save on rent and have more money to do fun things on weekends/eat more than ramen.

    -Can anyone tell me more about the Fountainbleau, Little Havana, or Coral Way areas? Safety? Entertainment? Access to public transportation? Living in general?
    -Anyone live in/have friends living in Design Place/DPlace?? For the most part, reviews say it's pretty bad, but it's so cheap for a 3BR! Also most of the bad reviews are older and there are some good reviews from the past few months...any reason for that, like new management perhaps?
    -Pinnacle View at 225 NE 23rd St.? There seem to be no reviews on it. What's the area like?
    -How bad/long is commuting from SoBe/Mid Beach areas to either north/south parts of the county during the work week (either by car or public transport)? I'd love to be near the beach and entertainment and not have to drive on the weekends, but would it be better traffic-wise/sanity-wise to live on the mainland and then just take public transport to the beach on the weekends?
    -Found this little map on another site...is it pretty accurate in outlining the West Grove that's supposed to be avoided?

    That's all for now, but I'm sure I'll have more questions later! Thank you in advance for any input or advice!


  2. #2
    Member sungal's Avatar
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    Hi Alda, Welcome to MiamiBeach411!

    Congrats on your new job! I have a friend who lives in a 2 bedroom apartment, in a high rise building on the water, with all the ammenities and 2 parking spots. He also has two roomates. It's right on the Ocean with great views and a pool. His rent is $1600. This is in mid-beach, close to South Beach.

    Another friend has a 2 bedroom in Coral Gables..pool, parking, for around $1350.

    Where are you moving from? If possible visit first and take the City Tour https://secure.miamibeach411.com/tour-of-miami.html

  3. #3
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    Thanks, Sungal! Places like that sound awesome, so hopefully I'll be able to score one for when I move! I'm coming from SC and trying to make it down for 3-4 days in early/mid July to check places out.

    Any other suggestions/tips from anyone?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Doug's Avatar
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    Hi, the commutes are worse in the morning going from west to east and north to south...and south to north. Therefore, South Beach is one of the best parts of town to commute from. In the evening, reverse the above. At the same time, South and Mid Beach are high density areas which makes them very conducive to walking but not so conducive to local driving. So, while it is a good place to commute from, it's not such a good place to drive around *in*. Coral Gables is a beautiful area, and it's possible to take surface streets to downtown -- however, the secret's out, and lots of others are doing it, too.

    They say that rents are cheaper once you get off South Beach, but that's not been my experience. While living there, I got a little annoyed with the density of it and scouted around Coconut Grove a bit. Unfortunately, I found that the rentals were every bit as high -- and indeed higher -- in Coconut Grove. While it is true that South Beach brings a certain touristy gouginess to itself, at the same time, it contains the most prevalent multi-family housing you'll find in any one area of Miami-Dade. So it balances out with the rest of the city.

    Entertainment is concentrated in South Beach because that's where the tourist show is. However, you can also find it on Calle Ocho in Little Havana -- just more culturally-specific.

    If you're just getting to know Miami, you may want to give South Beach a go. It's got the best of what greater Miami has to offer in a condensed area. You'll do less driving and have easy beach access. One of the biggest complaints I hear from my friends that live off the beach is how inconvenient it is for them to park on the beach when they want to drive there. You would have the upper hand by already living there: possible garage parking in your building, and if not, you could qualify for the residential parking pass. Either way, you're ahead of the western city dwellers!

    South Beach is too compact to have good areas and bad, but if you were to make a generalization, I would say that anywhere along Washington Avenue can be a bit ghetto, as can be Fifth to Sixth and Meridian. South Beach and Miami attract a certain underworld kind of personality anyway, but they're generally not overtly dangerous.
    Last edited by Doug; 06-27-2010 at 12:02 AM.

  5. #5
    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Hi Alda, welcome to the forums!

    Here are some suggestions based on what you asked.

    - Fountainbleau is way too west of any of the beach and entertainment it seems you might want on the weekends. Also, it's not that close to downtown. Get stuck on the expressway and it'll take more than 20 minutes.

    - You might consider South Miami (near Sunset Place) because you can get more for your money here rent wise, it's pretty central and you can take the metrorail downtown. Also, it's a charming little community with plenty of entertainment but only 20 minutes drive to the beach. If you need a realtor for this area, let me know.

    - DPlace: I don't know of anyone who has lived there. It looks ok from the outside, but it's on the border of a very sketchy neighborhood between Biscayne and Little Haiti. This is a tough call because right around the corner you have some very nice restaurants and the up-and-coming Biscayne Corridor. It's also an excellent location as far as getting to downtown is concerned but it is not central, rather it's quite east. I wouldn't rule it out, but try to get more input and definitely check it out in person.

    - Pinnacle View: this is not far from DPlace. I'm not sure about the building, but again, this is one of those areas that's up and coming on the Biscayne corridor. You have a mix of new buildings, new businesses and restaurants but also some sketchy blocks. The building might be great, but like DPlace, you won't really be walking out your door and hanging much around the streets at night. It's even closer to downtown and the beach, though.

    - You might also consider renting a duplex or small house in The Roads. This is just west of Brickell. Also, Coral Way, just east of Coral Gables, is pretty good. There are a number of high-rise buildings there.

    - Midtown Miami is a big complex with three bedroom apartments, but I'm not sure what they're going for. You might want to check it out. I know a few people who live there and they like it. It can be a little desolate at night but the shopping area right next to it is filling up with great shops and restaurants. It already has some chain stores like Target and Ross and it's very close to downtown.

    - I would avoid Design District. Actually, I don't know why they list apartments as being there as its a shopping wholesale/retail area that has no residential units in the actual district itself. It's surrounded by a sketchy neighborhood. It's very dead at night although there are some great restaurants there.

    - That is correct, you should avoid West Grove. However, a friend of mine recently looked at a duplex there. It was a HUGE, ENORMOUS three bedroom going for $2300. A bunch of developers have built up some streets back there, so I wouldn't rule that out completely. Your best bet would be to check with a realtor.

    Good luck and I hope this helps! Let us know if you have any more questions.

  6. #6
    Editor Carlos Miller's Avatar
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    The Coral Way Corridor is highly recommended. It's very central and more affordable than the Gables, Grove or Brickell.

    But you're right in the middle of all three.

  7. #7
    Editor Matt Meltzer's Avatar
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    Dont even think about commuting using public transportation unless your apartment and your workplace are right near a Metrorail station, or you live and work in either South Beach or Brickell. If you do not fit any of these qualifications, you will need a car and therefore need to consider commute times when deciding where to live.

    Commuting from the beach (Mid or South) is typically not too bad though, as long as you work normal hours.

  8. #8
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    Default This entire website has been really helpful...y'all are awesome.

    Thanks everyone for all the advice--just what I needed to hear! I think I've found some good places and am going down in a week to check things out and meet with some realtors whose accents are thicker than European hot chocolate.

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