Coral Gables' unique past is evident today, not only in the preservation of its architecture and landmarks, but in the spirit of its residents and the philosophy that guides its government.
George Merrick drew from the Garden City and City Beautiful movements of the 19th and early 20th century to create in 1925 one of the nation's first fully-planned communities. Incorporating secluded residential enclaves and commercial areas inspired by the architectural style of the Mediterranean, Merrick envisioned a City that would offer every amenity to its residents and at the same time would become a center for international business. In every respect, Merrick's dream has come true.
The same principles that made Coral Gables a success at its inception guide the City's current policies. The community's and the City's emphasis on protecting the residential sectors, preserving the natural environment and maintaining an international flavor are all long-standing traditions.
In addition, in 1973 Coral Gables was one of the first cities in Florida to adopt a Historical Resources Ordinance, creating a Historical Resources Board and establishing a procedure for local landmark designations. Since then, the past has also been preserved in the form of buildings — significant either because of their architecture or because of the historic events or important figures associated with them.
Today, Coral Gables boasts one of only three National Landmarks in Miami-Dade County: The Biltmore Hotel, designated in 1996. There are also nine properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including Coral Gables Merrick House, Venetian Pool and Coral Gables City Hall, as well as 600 locally designated properties.
In the past three decades, the City has experienced healthy growth, which has bolstered the economic base. Today, Coral Gables is home to 175 multinationals, 26 consulates and trade offices and more than 30 fine art galleries. It is also known as the Fine Dining Capital of South Florida and has the highest concentration of live theater in Miami-Dade County. Growth in the commercial sector has brought a wealth of new activities for residents, including nighttime entertainment, live music, casual and fine dining, and new retail options. It has also helped maintain low property taxes. At the same time, the residential areas have remained protected from commercial intrusion.
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