The History of Margaret Pace Park and Its Neighbors

The History of Margaret Pace Park and Its Neighbors

Oct 24, 2018 October 24, 2018

One of Miami’s liveliest public spaces is Margaret Pace Park, at the south end of Edgewater, one of the city’s most rapidly transforming neighborhoods. Lined with towering residential towers on the west, and the shimmering blue waters of Biscayne Bay on the east, the park is a favorite of neighborhood residents. The park features basketball, tennis, a large playground, volleyball, sweeping lawns, public art, and a walkway along the bay.

Once a single family residential area, and a subdivision called ‘Miramar,’ the park and its vicinity have evolved into the heart of Edgewater. Many of the buildings surrounding the park also have their own stories to tell. Here they are:

Margaret Pace Park

Margaret Pace Park is one of Miami’s great urban parks. It was created in the late 1960s and named in honor of Margaret Pace, who was a founder and past president of the Miami Garden Club. Pace was also chairwoman of Royal Palm State Park, which later became part of Everglades National Park, according to the Biscayne Times. A former vice president the Miami Women’s Club, which is located next door, Pace fought development of the adjoining bayfront green space which became the park, and was named in her honor, according to the Miami Herald. The park was created in the late 1960s, and for a while was notoriously overrun by drug dealers and hookers before it underwent a $4 million makeover in 2003.

Three Mosaic Chairs - Margaret Pace Park, Miami
The Three Mosaic Chairs - Margaret Pace Park. Photo by Aglez the city guy

The Omni/Plaza Venetia Complex

In the late 1960s, developer Tibor Hollo conceived a megaproject of residential and hotel towers, with shopping centers and entertainment venues connecting them, spanning multiple blocks from Biscayne Boulevard to Biscayne Bay. Called ‘Plaza Venetia’ (a name that only lives on in one of the condo buildings, the Venetia) the complex was designed in the ‘urban renewal’ mode popular at the time, that led to the leveling of blocks of urban cityscape for the creation of superblocks that were often isolated from the outside. Car-oriented, although high-density, the complex presented bleak concrete walls to the street that are hostile to pedestrians.

Along the bay, the Doubletree Grand hotel and condominium tower, the Marriott, and the Venetia are all part of the complex. They line a public baywalk and face a large marina. The project’s centerpiece, however, was the Omni International Mall, which began life as a swanky shopping destination. Opening in 1977, it was Miami’s first urban mall, and contained amenities like a multiplex movie theater, a huge carousel in a grand atrium in the sky, and a luxury hotel on top.

The Omni was built around the old Jordan Marsh department store, itself a remnant of a formerly-vibrant retail corridor on Biscayne Boulevard. The great promise of the Omni Mall was to bring that corridor back to life, and reinvigorate Downtown Miami. Less than fifteen years later the mall was on life support, and by 2000 it was shuttered.

Portions of the former Omni are currently leased out to the Miami International University of Art and Design, and the US Passport Office, the hotel is still in operation (it’s now a Hilton), and its vast ballroom is still used for events, but most of the building remains empty. It is part of a plan by Malaysian casino giant Genting to create a gigantic resort and casino property, however since Genting has had significant problems getting gambling legalized on the site the whole property remains in limbo.

Jordan Marsh Store c. 1956 - Omni Mall, Miami
Miami's first Jordan Marsh store opened downtown in 1956, on the site of the future Omni mall. Miami Herald File

The Miami Women’s Club

The Miami Women’s Club was formed in 1900 as the Married Ladies’ Afternoon Club, but it didn’t move to its current location at 17th Street and Bayshore Drive until 1930, when the club moved into a brand new building designed by architect August Geiger. The women’s club was instrumental in establishing public libraries in Miami, so naturally the new building contained one, in addition to a ballroom and other amenities.

The four story Mediterranean Revival building wraps around a garden courtyard and contains large, stately rooms on multiple levels. The facade originally contained elaborate architectural moldings which were removed in the 1950s due to deterioration. Many of the interiors also deteriorated significantly over the years.

A few years ago the club announced a 90-year lease with the Heafey Group to bring an upscale restaurant, lounge, and rooftop deck to the property, alongside restoring the historic building to its original architectural lusture.

The Miami Women's Club - Rendering of new building
Miami Woman’s Club with rooftop bar and outside restaurant

The 1800 Club and the Margaret Pace Park ‘Wall’

One of Miami’s most interesting watering holes used to face Margaret Pace Park at 1800 Bayshore Drive. Opened in 1955 by developer Bill Ader, on the first floor of one of his apartment buildings, the 1800 Club was a landmark. As the New Times described it upon the bar’s closing, “[Ader’s] crowning achievement was a diminutive cave of a bar called the 1800 Club, which remained for decades the shadowy haven of the city's brackish pool of politicians, journalists, businessmen, and judges. And the cheating hearts among them all.” The barmaids wore suitably skimpy attire. First it was tight white tops and gold lamé pants, and then various getups as the fashions changed.

The club finally closed in 2005 to be replaced by a condo tower of the same name, built by developer Michael Baumann of Miami Circle notoriety. Now the 1800 Club, a looming but entirely inconsequential condo tower, not much different to dozens upon dozens of the others in the city, stands in line with all the other equally tall residential towers lining Margaret Pace Park.

Mary's House
1800 Club Tower (Bulit on the same site as the original bar with the same name)

Paramount Bay

Spanning the width of a full city block, Paramount Bay is a residential tower that bends in a quarter circle thrusting out to the bay. It originally curved around a historic, Mediterranean Revival house famous for being in the movie ‘There’s Something About Mary.’ The exterior scenes in the movie, shot on Bayshore Drive, show just how much the neighborhood has changed, from a low-scale enclave of single-family homes to one of towering residential palisades.

During construction of Paramount Bay, a crane fell on the house, significantly damaging it and killing two construction workers. The rest of the house was demolished and a new low-rise building, with a rooftop pool for residents and skybridge connecting it to the tower, was built in its place. Ironically, at the time of the accident, the ‘Mary’ house was being used as the project’s safety office.

Paramount Bay - Pool area
Paramount Bay pool area

Contact Us
(305) 697-7667
contact@condoblackbook.com
Request Info
By sending you agree to CondoBlackBook's Terms of Use

Your Miami Condo Awaits

Recent Posts

Introducing 501 First: Downtown Miami’s Latest Short-Term Rental Investment Opportunity
Real Estate News Introducing 501 First: Downtown Miami’s Latest Short-Term Rental Investment Opportunity
Miami is in the height of another renaissance, with more than 12 new condo building projects announced in the first six months of 2021 alone. One of these latest Miami new construction condo developments is 501 First in the heart of Downtown Miami.  Why should you know about Miami's 501 First? If you love luxury real estate in a bustling metropolis, then the upcoming 501 First condo development will be worth your attention, especially if you are looking for condo investment opportunities. Miami is one of the world’s most popular destinations, as well as an international travel hub. Condo and real estate investments that allow short-term rentals and Airbnb rentals are extremely popular in a city like Miami.  We have written a lot about Miami condos that allow short-term rentals, and 501 First is one of the latest opportunities, having just launched. In fact, the 40-story tower will have no rental restrictions, allowing for short-term rentals, daily rentals, etc., making it a lucrative...
Coconut Grove Development ‘Markers Grove Isle’ Rebrands as ‘Vita’
Real Estate News Coconut Grove Development ‘Markers Grove Isle’ Rebrands as ‘Vita’
Luxury condo development project Markers Grove Isle rebranded as Vita Residences this June, after lengthy legal issues. The rebrand is a signal the Coconut Grove condo project is moving ahead after years of being stalled, making it one of the most eagerly awaited new Miami condo development projects, and a long-awaited addition to an island where nothing has been built in several decades. Sitting on the 21-acre, private island, Vita represents boutique, luxury waterfront living on Coconut Grove’s Grove Isle – forward-thinking and unlike anything built before it. Developed by Grove Isle Associates, construction on this island property is expected to begin by early 2022. Vita Grove Isle Residences If you know anything about Grove Isle, you may be curious about the design of this mid-rise project and how it will blend with the other three towers on the island. The collection of 5-story buildings will be set hugging the island’s serene eastern shoreline in modern, curvilinear...
The Best Miami Neighborhoods: Key Biscayne vs Fisher Island
Real Estate News The Best Miami Neighborhoods: Key Biscayne vs Fisher Island
Two of Miami’s most private and exclusive neighborhoods are Key Biscayne and Fisher Island. These neighborhoods share a number of similarities, as both are affluent island communities separated from the mainland Miami Metro area. And each island is designed as a private enclave for Miami’s elite. But the two also differ in many ways, due to their locations, local lifestyle, and the communities that inhabit each location.   We’ve broken down details to compare Key Biscayne versus Fisher Island based on factors that can help you choose which of the two would be most suitable for you. Take a look. And don’t miss our other Miami neighborhood comparisons at the bottom of this article.  Lifestyle: Key Biscayne vs Fisher Island Key Biscayne is a comfortable residential neighborhood located on a small island that is connected to Mainland Miami by the Rickenbacker Causeway. Once you cross the causeway into Key Biscayne, you definitely feel the tranquility of being surrounded by water, and...
Miami Building Boom 2021: These are the 12 New Condo Development Projects Planned to Date
Real Estate News Miami Building Boom 2021: These are the 12 New Condo Development Projects Planned to Date
It’s a trend we’ve been talking about since the last quarter of 2020 - waves of buyers are contributing to one of the biggest real estate booms in Miami history. As individuals and businesses escape high tax states like New York and California, and have the freedom to work from any location, luxury condo developers in Miami are announcing new project after new project.   Miami condo developers have announced over a dozen new and relaunched condo projects since the beginning of 2021. In an attempt to appeal to a wide range of new residents, each new project aims to be taller, more luxurious, and offer the most exciting set of amenities imaginable, and could bring more than 10,000 residential units to Miami over the next few years. With the real estate market in Miami in one of its most lucrative cycles yet, here’s a look at the latest condo projects proposed in Miami since January 2021 (till the time of this post): New Miami Condo Development Projects 2021 E11even Hotel and...
Surfside vs Sunny Isles Beach: Which Miami Neighborhood is Better?
Neighborhood Comparisons Surfside vs Sunny Isles Beach: Which Miami Neighborhood is Better?
If you love coastal living with walkable access to Atlantic Ocean beaches, and you want to move to a beachfront address while bypassing the hustle and bustle of South Beach, there are two beachside communities to consider when looking to make your move: Sunny Isles Beach and Surfside.  While these communities are practically next-door neighbors (with ritzy Bal Harbour nestled between them) and they share many amenities, including direct beach access to the Atlantic. Plus, they both are in prime locations that provide quick and easy access to airports, shopping, arts and culture, and outdoor living, living there could not be more different from one another.   As insiders who’ve lived in these popular Miami neighborhoods, we’ve broken down the similarities and differences between these two beautiful seaside communities in case you are looking to move to Miami. Lifestyle: Sunny Isles Beach vs. Surfside While Sunny Isles Beach and Surfside both provide residential coastal living...
Miami Condos with Shabbat Elevators
Real Estate News Miami Condos with Shabbat Elevators
Last updated June 11, 2021. Whether you refer to it as the Sabbath, Shabbat, Shabbos, or by any other term, your religious commitment to observing a holy day of rest should not prevent you from enjoying a luxury condo lifestyle in the subtropical paradise that is Miami.  For this reason, a number of condo communities provide the convenience of a Shabbat or Sabbath elevator, which is a specially programmed elevator that stops automatically on every floor during the Jewish Sabbath, from sundown on Friday evening until sundown on Saturday of every week.  This service is provided in order to accommodate the Jewish religious law that prohibits religious observers from pushing buttons or operating machinery during the Sabbath. While Miami today is known as a particularly Jewish-friendly metropolis, Jews were not even allowed to enter Miami Beach Hotels until the late 1940s. But by the 1950s they began to lay down roots in Miami Beach and to impact the economy, politics, and social flavor...