Brand Studio

With the launch of Onda Residences, Bay Harbor Islands is experiencing a renaissance

The new luxury boutique building from development duo Valerio Morabito and Ugo Colombo combines the exclusivity and tranquility of Bay Harbor Islands alongside the sights and sounds of North Miami Beach.

“I’ve always loved the city, but the most interesting parts aren’t in the center. They’re at the edges. The edges are where the city relaxes, where you find a sense of perspective. At the edge of possibility.” (Valerio Morabito on Onda Residences)

There was a time in the months after the pandemic began when roughly 1,000 Northerners moved to Florida every day. Miami is healthy, safe and peaceful. It offers new opportunities. It has lovely weather and water access.

Valerio Morabito, CEO of developer Morabito Properties, and Ugo Colombo, president of CMC Group, have long been drawn in by Miami’s beauty, and in 2018 they staked a plot on the West Island in Bay Harbor Islands and began to develop 41 luxury bayfront residences in a seven-story building.  This would be a boutique building with an intimate feel. It would be close to parks and the beach, fronting the water, with 16 private slips for boating and direct ocean access through Haulover Inlet.

“I was driving through unknown areas of the city,” Valerio said, “and I was just struck by this lot because it just had this perfect view. The color of the water in front of that site is probably one of the most beautiful in Miami.”

He said that part of Biscayne Bay was ¨the cleanest water¨ he’d ever seen, and they named the building Onda, meaning ¨wave¨ in Italian.  And indeed, the design of Morabito and Colombo’s Mediterranean-chic masterpiece undulates like the waters that lap the sand. “Up and down, but it also comes out and in,” Morabito rhapsodized. A top-notch team came together to build and design Onda, which is an intimate mix of residences and penthouses. The group includes renowned South Florida developer Colombo; Arquitectonica co-founder and AIA award winner Bernardo Fort-Brescia; and Swiss landscape architect Enzo Enea.

It was only natural that Valerio and Ugo would once again partner. Ugo has played a pioneering role in developing Miami’s skyline. Bristol Tower and Santa Maria are two of his creations, along with Florida’s Porto Vita, a Mediterranean-style village that’s the ultimate in country club living. He and Valerio had partnered previously on Beach House 8, a high-end oceanfront condo building in Miami Beach, and have an innate understanding of what buyers in South Florida seek.

As a result, Onda’s luxury amenities include a concierge service, 24-hour security, a spectacular rooftop with a pool, a fitness room with Technogym cardio and strength training equipment, a sauna and steam bath, a yoga studio, large and inviting terraces and a private marina.

Go through the rooms any spring morning and you see the reflection of the water dancing on the walls, the early daylight streaming across the paneled floors of the gym, the waters and palm trees splashing and swaying outside your bedroom’s glass doors. You hear the sound of the seagulls as you soap yourself in the white marble bathtub and smell the ocean air as you stir your soup on your kitchen’s high-end Miele induction range.

“Ugo and I were both from Italy, and we fell in love with Miami early on,” Morabito told The Real Deal. “He’s from Milan, I’m from Rome … We make a creative partnership, with a dedicated and passionate team. Our signature? We pay attention to quality and details. We bring the best of Italy to America’s real estate market.”

On Onda, he added:  “It’s not easy to find beautiful development spots, so with Onda, we were very, very lucky.”


Tour around Onda

The residences have private and semi-private residential elevators, dens and two to four bedrooms. You’ll find open floor layouts with up to 9-foot grand ceilings and floor-to-ceiling impact-resistant sliding glass doors and windows. There are bathrooms with Italian marble and wood cabinetry, and fully accessorized Snaidero kitchens with the latest Miele appliances. Take the elevator up to the roof and there’s a summer kitchen and bar along with a poolside sundeck with a special “relax and lounge” area. Down by Onda’s marina, there’s a watersports launch dock with kayaks and paddleboards. Step out onto your private garden or spacious tiled terrace and you see the Sunny Isles skyline and the 300-foot waterfront along Biscayne Bay.

“You rarely find water near buildings,” Valerio told The Real Deal. “Hotels maybe, but residential buildings? That’s unique. We’re also less expensive than regular beachfront developments, with way more space.”

“Covid changed what buyers are looking for,” he added. “They no longer want high-density buildings. They want something intimate, plenty of space.” Onda gives just that.


Onda: The edge of possibilities

Designed for those seeking an intimate lifestyle that doesn’t sacrifice location for serenity, Onda Residences are on the West Island of Bay Harbor Islands. The town, with its two islands, was founded in 1947 by Belarusian refugee-cum-American banker, lawyer, and philanthropist Shepard Broad. He was looking — just as we are now — for peace and a community. The East Island has the business district, a K-8 school and multifamily housing, while the West Island features mostly single-family homes.

Centrally located, Onda is close to Bal Harbour with its top-notch shopping, restaurants and parks, with easy yacht access to the Atlantic Ocean through Haulover Canal and little traffic. Onda also juxtaposes the subtropical communities of Indian Creek and Surfside.

“I think Bay Harbor is like an undiscovered jewel in Miami,” Colombo, famed for bringing high-rise developments to Miami, reflected. “It’s a small island, close to everything, right behind Bal Harbour with its fantastic water views. I thought [Onda Residences] was a great opportunity for a luxurious high-end living community.”

While enthusiasts call Bay Harbor Islands “paradise,” for Onda´s team, it’s more than just paradise:

We all have an inner force tightly linked to our connections with nature, and with the sea … When unleashed, it unlocks new confidence to venture outside of the norms. To seek new things. To live a bigger life. And to see the joy in possibilities. This is Onda. This is how we live.

Onda? It’s a home on the water. It’s a post-Covid world. A new life. A fresh start.

Click here to explore the possibilities of Onda.