1,500 - 1,600 of the uber-wealthy now reside in a Miami-Dade County 216-acre historical site, built in 1935 for the winter estate of William and Rosamund Vanderbilt.
Most live in exclusive condos with only a handful of stand-alone homes on the island, and most are part-time residents. There are 760 equity club members, paying a $250,000 initiation fee, plus annual dues of $18,500 for the basic membership and $4,500 a year for golf. Food and drink costs at the island's 8 bars and restaurants is additional. Non-residents pay a $26,700 initial fee with yearly dues starting at $20,600.
Wanting to stay competitive with other famous hot spots favored by wealthy clientele, there will be $60-MM in upgrades coming. There will be new bars and restaurants and an extension of the beach area. Extensive new landscaping will be done. The local Island Market Deli will expand and an upscale Italian restaurant will be redesigned. Town Center's pool will get a fountain. The Mansion, a main gathering place for events, will have new restoration to the marble and woodwork, with an eye to maintaining historical integrity.
So far $25mm has been spent since 2007 on items such as:
- extensive landscaping and a new irrigation system for the 9-hole par 35 Pete Dye championship golf course
- Two new outdoor liquor bars at the beach area and a new sushi bar
- Extra sand was trucked in to extend the beach about 8'
- The exotic bird collection will move from the Vanderbilt Mansion to an area where the noise does not disturb events
- Some of the island's hotel units will be upgraded
- 14 clay, 2 grass and 2 hard tennis courts will be replaced at the Grand Slam Tennis Center
- Two marinas will be upgraded; deep-water accommodations for up to a 250' yacht
- A new Tuscan-style casual pizzeria will be added to Town Center
According to a consulting expert, "All upgrades will help Fisher Island maintain its cachet among the ultra-rich...they have money to afford anything and, when it comes to their personal downtime, they want the bet, they expect the best, they demand the best... if they're not happy they will take their fortunes and go elsewhere."