Inside Indian Creek, site of Miami’s priciest homes

By Hortense Leon | May 01, 2013 07:00AM

Indian Creek

The most expensive home in Miami-Dade County is in a neighborhood that those in the know consider perhaps South Florida’s most exclusive: Indian Creek.

A foreign investor — a Russian who wished to remain anonymous — paid $47 million for a five-pavilion compound that sits on two acres of manicured grounds, including a private beach of imported Bahamian sand, and a 100-foot infinity-edge pool with underwater speakers.

But chances are good that last summer’s record will tumble to another mansion tucked away on Indian Creek, a manmade island smack dab in the middle of the Intercoastal Waterway not far from North Miami.

And there’s reason to think that a new benchmark probably isn’t far in the offing: Miami-Dade’s last top sale was also on Indian Creek. Just months before the Russian made his cash deal, Sears Holdings chief Eddie Lampert set the previous record for priciest home sale in the county. The retail executive paid $38.4 million for a 17,000-square-foot Italian-style residence and the three acres it sits on.

“It was not [even] on the market,” said Mirce “Miki” Curkoski, a realtor with One Sotheby’s International in Miami Beach. Sotheby’s handled both sides of the deal.

Lampert first saw the house more than five years ago — and he was impressed. “It has fountains in the front; it definitely has an estate feeling,” Curkoski said.

Heightening that sense of privacy is, of course, the very fact of living on an island. The entrance is situated at the end of a perfectly ordinary street in a perfectly ordinary town called Surfside. Only a handful of locals even know about the gates that keep out the public. There are no signs pointing the way.

Without an invitation from a resident or a member of the country club, no one gets onto the 294 pristine acres — divided into 41 lots, eight still empty but commanding princely sums. A two-acre lot sold for more than $15 million last year, Curkoski said; today, the asking price is $25 million.

“It is one of the most restricted areas in all of Miami,” historian Paul George said, adding the best way to get to Indian Creek is by boat.

Security is so tight that the island has a 24-hour water patrol to protect its 86 residents, though many don’t really live there, said Roseann Prado, the island’s deputy city clerk. A healthy number are more like guests, visiting once or twice a year.

Then, there are the club members — who may or may not be residents, Prado explained. And residents may or may not be club members since membership doesn’t come with residency.

“You have to know somebody who will give you a reference and it costs many thousands of dollars to join,” Prado said.

Indian Creek, indeed, isn’t for the have-nots — and its list of homeowners proves it: Julio Iglesias, the enduring Spanish singer. And Don Shula, who led the Miami Dolphins to two Super Bowl wins. And king of the hostile takeovers, billionaire investor Carl Icahn.

But for all of Indian Creek’s glamour and wealth, its residents aren’t showy — just the contrary, Curkoski said.

“There is nothing crazy going on there, because when you get to that level, people don’t like to show off,” he said. “They don’t need to.”