About seven years ago, there would be five or six listings at the same time and $20 million was a big sale Bezos emissaries have reached out to at least three other homeowners on the island about purchasing their properties, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing private matters. Conversations are ongoing. A spokesperson for Bezos declined to comment.
Of course South Florida isn’t the only place seeing an explosion of wealth amid a realignment that picked up speed during the pandemic. New York’s Upper East Side and San Francisco’s Nob Hill have lost wealthy residents to warmer climes including Dallas, Austin, Charlotte, North Carolina, and even Nashville as hedge funds and other money managers move headquarters.
But while Miami has long been a magnet for the affluent, in particular for those with ties to Latin America, the scale of those fortunes has changed. Recent years saw hedge-fund billionaire Ken Griffin and his Citadel lieutenants embark on a string of real estate purchases in the area. Other buyers include the former chairman of Alphabet Inc., billionaire Eric Schmidt, and financier Josh Harris. There’s perhaps no more exclusive address in the region, though, than the 41 lots on Indian Creek Island Road, which runs along the village’s perimeter. In the middle of the island is a luxury golf course and country club; its coveted memberships are
one of the few ways outsiders can get in. There are no other businesses.
The island is its own municipality, with an elected mayor, a role currently filled by Benny Klepach, the founder of duty- free retailer 3Sixty. City hall and the police station sit just across the bridge that connects Indian Creek to the community of Surfside. The town’s logo features a drawing of the iron gates that bar outsiders. Sidewalks were only added in recent years and sewage is still collected through septic tanks — though
there are plans to change that. City officials didn’t respond to requests for comment. Architect Kobi Karp, who has worked in Miami “since the Miami Vice and Scarface days,” said clients tell him that the
island’s biggest draw is privacy.
“In other neighborhoods, I can come in if I want to serveyou papers or harass you or take photographs of you,” said Karp,who has designed several residences in Indian Creek. “Some
people don’t like that at all.” Though Indian Creek is about the same size as Bay Harbor Islands, another oceanfront enclave of wealth in Florida, the former is home to only 84 people, while the latter has a population of almost 6,000, according to the 2020 census. In addition to Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, Indian Creek Village property owners include short-seller Icahn, who purchased his mansion in 1997 for $7.5 million. Colombian billionaire banker Jaime Gilinski assembled five properties in the island that he’s used to create a compound for his family. Gilinski’s decades-long buying spree is emblematic of the
shifts on the island. He made his first purchase almost 30 years ago, shelling out $6 million. His latest was in 2021, for $40 million. All told, Gilinski has spent close to $80 million on his Indian Creek estates — about the same as the $79 million Bezos spent on a single, seven-bedroom mansion in October.
“Only the very wealthy, the billionaires,” can afford to live in Indian Creek now, said Paul George, the resident
historian at the HistoryMiami Museum. “Hundreds of millions
aren’t gonna cut it anymore.”
--With assistance from Raeedah Wahid, Ezra Fieser and Eugene