Have you ever heard of the gangster Al Capone? If no, he was a mobster from Chicago with a bad reputation that could very well have been exaggerated according to experts. He owned a historic home here in Miami among others but this particular one was his favorite one and goes down in the history books for sure. From 1928 until his death on January 25, 1947, Al Capone used his Palm Island estate as a getaway from his life as a big time Chicago gangster. Capone loved the property because it reminded him of the sunny shores of Italy.
Al Capone came to Miami Beach in 1927 and bought the Palm Island property in 1928. His interest in Miami was something that many wanted to keep him from for fear of bringing crime to the Miami coastal shores. However, the many attempts of city officials and the police were unsuccessful for he purchased the home through a friend and later placed the deed in the name of his wife. On another note, Miamians were happy to receive him as he had plenty of cash, and the willingness to spend it freely, to stimulate Miami’s economy.
The interiors of Al Capone’s 1922 Mediterranean Revival estate on Palm Island have changed a bit since his death. In August 2016, the estate went through some serious renovations that were tackled by Miami-based, Italian-run MB America. According to them, they bought the estate for around $8 million and invested approx. $1.4 in renovations. MB American co-founder and architect Monica Melotti led the architecture and design renovations of Capone’s mansion. It’s been said that Monica and her team did an amazing job of maintaining some of the original details of the property. They kept the wooden multi-pane windows, the same windows with their original crank shaft mechanisms. As well as a black and yellow mosaic bathroom with original elements in the main entrance.
The two-story stucco house is awash in white — topped with white terra-cotta roof tiles (which were probably originally red), and accented with white awnings. A large, covered loggia on both sides of the living room flank the house, meant for natural cooling and cross-ventilation in pre-air conditioning days. The house still does not have central air but is instead cooled with not-so-glamorous units mounted on the walls. Some amenities include a red coral miniature lighthouse fountain with a bridge installed in a series of renovations made by Capone, a pool house with a bedroom and floor to ceiling mosaic bathroom, mini private beach and a seven-foot white cement wall perimeter. The L-shaped 6,077-square-foot main structure spreads on a 30,000 square-foot waterfront site.
The marketing vision of developers like Carl G. Fisher helped secure Miami’s image as a tropical paradise to rally outside investors (Carl once purchased an illuminated billboard in Times Square proclaiming “It’s Always June in Miami”—soon after that billboards with sunbathing beauties pointing to Miami were popping up everywhere). All this led to the great Florida land boom of the 1920s when scores new cities and high-rises were built from scratch.
93 Palm Ave still stands today with its rich history and ocean-side beauty that makes it a stand-alone unique piece of history to admire for many more years to come.
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