If you find yourself charmed by the whimsical homes in Coral Gables, chances are the block of 18th-century-inspired houses along Hardee Road has much to do with capturing your attention. These properties make up the French City Village, one of six unique period-revival subdivisions in the Gables. (Check out these previous posts for more on planner George Merrick’s villages and the Florida Pioneer Village and Italian Village) The French City Village is one of the most cohesive of the themed enclaves and is bounded by Maggiore Street, San Vicente Street, Caligula Avenue, and Barbarossa Avenue.
Mott B. Schmidt, a prolific architect renowned for his work in the traditional niche of American Georgian Classicism, teamed with Anderson Fowler, a New Jersey developer and attorney, to bring the French City Village to life. They took inspiration from classical, 18th-century French architecture, building provincial villas with walled gardens, porches, and stately entrance halls.
The village, often described as semi-urban, has a very livable quality in its planning (e.g., garages feature convenient street-side entrances) and is considered a precursor to the townhouse developments that would later come into vogue in the 1970s. While the homes have an overarching cohesiveness, each has its own unique character, following varied layouts and orientations. Many of the surrounding Gables homes built later followed vaguely in the French style, so the whole section has an otherworldly, unified feel.
There’s been a lot of recent activity on the market for these landmarks. In October 2014, the large four-bedroom home on almost half an acre of land at 517 Hardee Road sold for approximately $2,625,000. For a partial glimpse inside, view this realty video of 541 Hardee Road, which sold in June for approximately $2,575,000. The smaller property at 524 Hardee also sold in June, for about $1,600,000. A month earlier, the home at 536 Hardee went for a reported $2,000,000.
So as you can see, if living in one of the original designs within the French City Village, or any of Merrick’s villages, is your dream, it is possible, and I have handled sales of homes from these areas in the past. Contact me today to explore the market.