Indian Creek Island was already on the map for many of the world’s wealthiest people as a must-see destination for a private enclave (or tax shelter) in South Florida, but recently two enormous real-estate deals put the 300-acre destination front and center for the rest of the world.
On December 7, the New York Post reported that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner plunked down more than $31 million dollars for the 1.84-acre lot at 4 Indian Creek Island. Previously owned by Julio Iglesias—arguably Indian Creek’s most famous resident until recently—the property has 200 feet of private bay front and comes with a reported tax bill of $472,764 per year. (Iglesias isn’t believed to be going far; he’s said to own three additional lots on the island.)
Then, just a few days later, it was revealed that Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen decided to relocate from Tampa to Miami. The couple spent a reported $17 million for 26 Indian Creek Island Road, where they’re expected to tear down the current home and “build an environmentally friendly mansion,” Page Six reported.
What makes Indian Creek Island, a .4-square mile-size municipality about 20 minutes by car from Miami Beach, so appealing to buyers like the Kushners and Bradys? To begin with, privacy. Indian Creek Island is home to 40 or so lots and only around 30 residences. The entire development is private and gated with its own police force and an armed marine patrol that circles the island 24 hours a day, seven days a week. (All the properties are on the water.)
“You have peace of mind having that security,” says an entrepreneur whose family owned land on Indian Creek but never built a house there. “At the time, super successful people had homes there, but it wasn’t a celebrity thing.”
According to the Miami Herald, the median assessed value for homes on Indian Creek Island in 2019 was $13.6 million. Ivanka and Jared should fit in well: “the 53 presidential votes cast by residents of the island skewed heavily toward President Donald J. Trump, 79% versus 21% for Joe Biden,” the paper recently reported.
Among the people with rather un-humble abodes there include former Sears CEO Eddie Lampert; investor Carl Icahn; Jamie Galinski Baca, a Colombian banking magnate worth a reported $3.6 billion; Robert Diener, the co-founder of Hotels.com; Rakesh Gangwal, the former CEO of U.S. Airways, and Mary Stephens Shula, the widow of former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula.
“It’s understated and super chic. It’s old-world,” says one South Beach insider. “The whole island is really beautiful and manicured, and it’s not like there’s crazy new construction and ugly houses. It feels more like Palm Beach than Miami.”
Miami-based Douglas Elliman real estate agent Pablo Alfaro says interest comes from the reality that “there are big lots, most of them are at least an acre. There’s a lot of separation between neighbors.” Indian Creek Island, he adds, is a place for “people with a lot of money who know what they want.”
It’s also considered far less flashy than Star Island—the Miami neighborhood that’s reportedly been home to Sean Combs, Rosie O’Donnell, and Gloria Estefan—which Curbed described in 2015 as “a tiny neighborhood of massive houses and drama.”
Even though many of the houses on Star Island are set back behind big gates, “you can get on Star Island, it’s not that hard. Those are public roads,” the insider notes. “Indian Creek is really private, really tight. They ask for your driver’s license.”
But it’s more than just privacy that’s luring in Indian Creek’s new residents. As congestion surges in Miami, many rich families are looking to move north, toward Bal Harbor and the newly renovated Four Seasons Surfside with its Thomas Keller-helmed Surf Club. Additionally, Indian Creek is close to area private schools—like a soon-to-open branch of Avenues, Posnack Jewish Day School, Lehrman Community Day School, the Ransom Everglades School, and the Cushman School, all of which the Kushners might be considering. That would certainly appeal to families with children.
The island is also home to the Indian Creek Country Club, once referred to as “Miami-Dade County’s most exclusive, and controversial, private society.”
“It’s not modern and wild like some other places in Miami. It has gorgeous views, and it’s regal and beautiful,” says a local who threw an event there. “When you drive in, there’s this long winding road and you just get excited.”
The 300-or-so member Spanish-style country club, built in 1930, “certainly brings a cachet to the island,” says Alfaro. It has a world-class 18-hole golf course, a restaurant that one describes as “dated,” but another describes as having “super good food,” and initiation fees that at least a few years ago were $150,000.
“It’s very hard to get into, and if you live there, it doesn’t mean you’re a member,” explains a local. “It’s very Waspy, very understated.” In 2010, the Miami New Times estimated that only eight or nine residents of the island are also members of the club.
That means the big question is, now that they’ve bought there, will celebrities fit in? “That’s what everyone’s wondering now,” says the local. “Will Jared and Ivanka get into Indian Creek Country Club?”
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