The most expensive real estate in South Florida might not be what you think it is

Cabanas at The Estates at Acqualina are selling for up to nearly $7,500 psf

Collage of rendering of cabana at Estates at Acqualina, photo of cabana at Continuum, photo of cabana at Palazzo Del Sol with Jules Trump and Dora Puig
Collage of rendering of cabana at Estates at Acqualina, photo of cabana at Continuum, photo of cabana at Palazzo Del Sol with Jules Trump and Dora Puig

UPDATED Nov. 8, 8:25 a.m.: At The Estates at Acqualina in Sunny Isles Beach, the most expensive real estate doesn’t even allow for an overnight stay.

Poolside cabanas at the luxury two-tower condominium project now under construction have presold for as much as $2.5 million, or nearly $7,500 per square foot. That ranks them as the highest-priced property in South Florida on a per foot basis — and far above the average $1,700 per square foot for condos at the development.

The 334-square-foot cabanas will come fully furnished by Fendi, with built-out bathrooms and kitchens. They’re only available to buyers of residences, said developer Jules Trump of the Trump Group.

For some wealthy buyers in South Florida, a luxury condo isn’t enough. At pricey new and planned developments like The Estates at Acqualina and Palazzo Del Sol and Palazzo Della Luna on Fisher Island, cabanas are in demand, developers and brokers say. Owners want the extra space to hang out by the pool, host a party, watch sports or even use as an office.

Trump said that six of the nine cabanas at The Estates at Acqualina have been sold. Prices started at $2 million, and have risen to $2.5 million. He said he is holding onto the last three in case penthouse buyers want to purchase them, and has four people on a waiting list for them.

“They are very sought after,” Trump said.

The cabanas will be built on the beach level, near a restaurant, and room service can be delivered to the cabana. They will each come with two attached parking spaces, allowing residents to drive right up to their cabanas. Each cabana will also be equipped with a wine cooler, microwave, coffee machine, ice maker, refrigerator, air conditioner and TV. Residents aren’t allowed to sleep in them, though it’s unlikely anyone will be keeping track.

“It’s an experience — it’s more than just real estate,” he said.

Last month, Trump, who is of no relation to the president, signed a $600 million construction contract with Coastal Construction for the $1.6 billion development at 17901 Collins Avenue, after scoring a $558 million construction loan from Bank OZK. Prices for units at the 245-condo project range from $4.2 to $14 million with penthouses priced up to $35 million.

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The construction contract includes $60 million for 2.5 million square feet of marble from places like Greece, Turkey, Italy, China and Brazil. The marble, including onyx, will be used on the common spaces, the amenity villa, outdoor areas, terraces of residences, kitchens and bathrooms, Trump said.

On Fisher Island, at the 43-unit Palazzo Del Sol, completed in 2016, all six cabanas sold out at prices up to $1.6 million, said Luxe Living Realty’s Dora Puig. At 400 square feet, that’s a high of $4,000 per square foot, more than the average price per square foot of condos, which sold for up to $31.26 million, or $3,218 a foot.

The cabanas were even in greater demand than studios in the building available for sale as an extra bedroom, guest or nanny quarters, a playroom or office. Two of four studios are still available. “We thought we would sell the studios more [than the cabanas],” Puig said.

Close by, at the 50-unit Palazzo Della Luna under construction, two of nine cabanas available for sale have been presold, Puig said. Asking prices for the 400-square-foot cabanas start at $1.2 million, or at least $3,000 per square foot. Unit prices run as high as $40 million or about $3,924 per square foot for a penthouse.

The cabanas will be built out with dark slate floors, and all will have a bathroom and kitchen. Two other cabanas will be converted to an outdoor spa with massage rooms and cold and hot plunge pools.

The Continuum in Miami Beach was among the first luxury projects to sell cabanas to its unit owners. The south and north towers, completed in 2002 and 2008, respectively, each have 14 cabanas.

Sonia Toth, an agent with Brown Harris Stevens, recently had a listing for Cabana 8 in the south tower at 100 South Pointe Drive, priced at $1.2 million. The 400-square-foot cabana will go back on the market in early December for $1.05 million, she said, or $2,625 per square foot. Only unit owners at the south tower can purchase it.

There’s no maintenance fee and no taxes, so it’s treated as a parking space on the deed, she said. It can’t be rented out.

“People use them for a little party with friends,” Toth said, “and to watch TV.”