What to know about Miami’s Billionaire Bunker neighborhood, where Jeff Bezos keeps buying up property

What to know about Miami’s Billionaire Bunker neighborhood, where Jeff Bezos keeps buying up property

Other homeowners in the wealthy, largely Caucasian, enclave include DJ David Guetta and retired NFL player Tom Brady.

BY Clint Rainey

Miami transplant Jeff Bezos has dropped a reported $90 million to add a third piece of property to his growing real-estate portfolio in the ultraexclusive community of Indian Creek, aka “Billionaire Bunker.” In the second half of 2023, he threw down $68 million and $79 million for two properties overlooking Biscayne Bay—a concrete house on almost three acres and then what’s been described as a “Mediterranean-style mansion.”

Bezos announced last November that he is relocating from Seattle to be closer to his parents and fiancée, Lauren Sanchez. “I love Miami,” he explained on Instagram. “Also, Blue Origin’s operations are increasingly shifting to Cape Canaveral.”

Bloomberg reported that the Amazon founder has agreed to pay almost nine figures for this newest six-bedroom home in an off-market sale and that he plans to live there while “he tears down the other houses he bought on the island.”

A daring move? Perhaps. The New York Post claims neighbors aren’t huge fans of Bezos’s maneuvering: “Property on the island is already scarce, so there is no doubt that Bezos making off-market deals will rile up a few who have been eyeing homes there.”

In fact, Indian Creek only has 41 lots. So, not only could Bezos be making fast enemies of neighbors-to-be, but really—what is just so amazing about Billionaire Bunker that Earth’s second-richest person, with a fortune above $200 billion, can’t stop swooping up parcels there?

First off, what is this place?

It’s a famous gated community with a private golf course and country club that has been dubbed “ground zero for the unprecedented migration of wealth,” though concentration is more apt. At the time of the 2020 census, the population was 84 people—which is 67 more than it had in 1939, when Florida first incorporated the area into a village. According to the census, its total number of households stands at 28.

Also, Indian Creek is an island. To reach it, you must pass through an imposing-looking barrier gate attached to Indian Creek’s police station, whose officers patrol the island and surrounding waterways 24/7. Once the arm blocking the road raises, visitors and homeowners then drive over a literal drawbridge.

Who lives here? Must be a pretty monotonous crowd

According to property records, the enclave’s sole street—the U-shaped Indian Creek Island Road—is home to a “very diverse mix” of . . . uber-wealthy, largely Caucasian men, a good number of whom are professional singers or made their money in professional sports. There is Julio Iglesias, superstar DJ David Guetta, soon-to-be Hall of Fame football player Tom Brady (who just built a brand-new home down the road from ex-wife Gisele Bündchen, the model from southern Brazil), as well as the wife of the late Hall-of-Fame NFL coach Don Shula (who passed away in 2020); and up until a few years ago, the controversial college basketball coach Rick Pitino.

Other notable residents have included Adriana Lima, the model from northeastern Brazil; Gilbert Bigio, the richest person in Haiti who now faces sanctions for allegedly funding the gangs that upended his home country; and Florida real-estate magnate Jeffrey Soffer, who was once married to model Elle Macpherson. While 42 of the 53 presidential votes cast in 2020 here went to Donald Trump, newish residents Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have to share the island with Carl Icahn, the billionaire investor who was a special advisor to Trump in his first presidential campaign, but either resigned or got fired (depending on which side you believe).

Possible residents include Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar. In 2021, The Next Miami reported records showing the property adjacent to the Kushners was sold to a company the emir controlled for $49.9 million—a record for Miami-Dade County—shortly before Trump’s daughter and son-in-law purchased theirs. (Curiously, the URL for that news article has been taken down and also magically “excised” from the Wayback Machine.)

 

Anyone less famous, less controversial, or a noncelebrity?

At the northwest corner of the U, at 1 Indian Creek Island Road, is the home of car-dealer tycoon Norman Braman, former Philadelphia Eagles owner and one-time nominee for Ronald Reagan’s commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Braman and his wife, Irma’s absolutely enormous Richard Serra sculpture, Blade Runner, can probably be seen from space.

Heading south, the road’s U rounds the corner, past the clubhouse, Don Shula’s old home, and the 17,000-square-foot, seven-bedroom, 19-bath residence of former Sears CEO Eddie Lampert.

Where it dead-ends at the other end, biotech exec Martin Silver and his wife, Constance, occupy a sprawling 10,000-square-foot home on a 1.25-acre corner lot next to Gerard Bakker, head of the Dutch industrial magnet and magnetic products supplier, Bakker Magnetics. At only 7,000 square feet, Bakker’s $9.3 million home is almost tiny here, but he holds bragging rights that former occupants were Beyoncé and Jay-Z.

The good or bad news for Bezos is that he isn’t the only resident hogging lots. Julio Iglesias has, at times, held several. Ditto Colombian banking billionaire Jaime Gilinski Bacal, who technically resides in London but nonetheless has glommed together five separate properties, creating a mega-compound with a combined minimum of 40,000 square feet of living space with some 21 bedrooms and an equal number of baths.

Finally, longtime Indian Creek mayor, Benny Klepach—in his free time, CEO of the world’s largest duty-free retailer, 3Sixty—moved to the island in 2001, when it was still mostly vacation homes for the normal wealthy. Though even a decade ago, Klepach was griping about the housing availability. “There wasn’t a lot to pick from,” he told the Miami Herald in 2014. “And what there was to pick from, you really had to knock it down.”

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Clint Rainey is a Fast Company contributor based in New York who reports on business, often food brands. He has covered the anti-ESG movement, rumors of a Big Meat psyop against plant-based proteins, Chick-fil-A’s quest to walk the narrow path to growth, as well as Starbucks’s pivot from a progressive brandinto one that’s far more Chinese. 

Fast Company

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