“This is an extremely rare opportunity to purchase not just part of Miami’s colorful history, but to own a tract of land that large in the heart of Miami’s famed Coconut Grove neighborhood with 207-feet of waterfront on Biscayne Bay,” said Pierce. “As you pass through the front gates, it’s as if you are traveling back in time. But yet, you’re still just steps from the restaurants and stylish boutiques of Coconut Grove.”
Secluded behind a private gate in the heart of Coconut Grove, La Brisa is tucked away on 6.9 quiet acres and hidden from street view. The home features views of Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean across an expanse of well-manicured lawn stretching toward the mangrove-lined waterfront, which is accessible by an elevated walkway. A protected 536-foot long canal borders the northern side of property, including a boat slip that accommodates a 68-foot yacht and direct ocean access. The meticulously landscaped property is dotted with mature trees including royal palms, royal poincianas, mahogany, banyans, oak and gumbo limbo, some which are nearly as old as the house itself.
The expansive residence sits atop an ancient coral reef 23 feet above sea level. The home features 13,803 square feet “under air” plus an additional 3,338 square feet of outdoor living space including several picturesque balconies and covered porches, for a total square footage of 17,141. With 9 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms and 3 half-baths, the Mediterranean-style home’s unique architectural details include a multi-colored tile roof, original woodwork on the upper-floor galleries, intricate keystones above the entryways that have been carefully restored, arched doors and windows, and an assortment of wrought-iron and wood balconies.
The pool and sunken fire pit are surrounded by an expansive patio made from coral, which can easily accommodate a party of 250 for lavish outdoor entertaining. The property also includes a two-bedroom, Key West-style guest cottage with generous living spaces, situated beneath towering banyan trees.
La Brisa was designed by prolific architects, Kiehnel and Elliott, who were active in Miami from the early 1920s to the early ‘40s and known for their Mediterranean Revival style featuring pastel stucco walls, red-tile roofs, wrought iron details and elaborate accents along entryways, rooflines and windows. The firm was involved in the design some of Miami’s most notable period buildings, including El Jardin (now the Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart), the Coconut Grove Playhouse, the Bryan Memorial Methodist Church (now Bet-Ovadia Chabad of the Grove), and Miami Senior High School.
La Brisa boasts a colorful history that dates back to the early settlers of Coconut Grove. The land was first deeded in 1886 to Kirk Munroe, a noted author of children’s adventure novels and books about Florida, and his wife Mary Barr Munroe. The Munroes included several well-known authors in their circle of friends, and were introduced to Florida by Munroe’s sister, who was married to the youngest son of Harriett Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Munroe played a pivotal role in the development and cultural establishment of Miami’s early days. He introduced the first legislation in Florida to protect an animal after an injured manatee washed ashore, built South Florida’s first tennis court and hosted the first game of tennis in 1892, and founded the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club. Reportedly, a box of Florida orange blossoms from the Munroe property was shipped to Henry Flagler to convince him to bring his railroad south to Miami. During the Spanish-American War, Munroe supplied water from La Brisa’s spring that was transported 120 miles south for the American troops anchored in Key West.
The Munroes sold the land in 1920 to John B. Semple, a Pittsburgh lawyer, who tore down the existing wood-frame home and commissioned architects Kiehnel and Elliott to build a “winter cottage.” The property was later purchased by anthropologist Henry Field, a grand-nephew of the founder of the Marshall Field’s department store chain, and his wife Julia, who was a lion tamer and first curator of the Crandon Park Zoo.
Listing courtesy of EWM Realty International