Wilton Manors’ peninsulas of pleasure
text Mark Williams
The southeast corner of Wilton Manors is a quiet neighborhood of mostly waterfront, single-family homes known affectionately as Coral Point. The few finger streets here begin at NE 26th Street and stretch south to the South Fork of the Middle River opposite Poinsettia Heights or east towards N Federal Highway. The South Fork of the Middle River also forms the eastern border of this slender, F-shaped neighborhood, which spans a mere 2 1/2 blocks west to the centerline of NE 19th Avenue. Despite its tiny, 31-acre footprint, Coral Point boasts almost 100 waterfront homes.
Originally platted in 1925, development stalled in the area after the great hurricane and resulting land bust and did not resume until returning World War II servicemen and their families helped fuel the building boom. By the time Wilton Manors was incorporated in 1947, celebrities, tourists, and new residents were already being drawn to greater Fort Lauderdale for its climate, beaches, and deep-sea fishing. As the population began moving out of Fort Lauderdale’s urban core, suburban isles began to be built out with mid-century concrete block homes, including several developments along the South Fork of the Middle River and its finger canals.
In 1953, Joseph Taravella, president of the Coral Ridge Properties, took interest in this little corner of Wilton Manors dubbing it Coral Point and submitting development plans that same year. Following the lead of other developers as far back as the 1920s, Taravella –– known for turning Coral Ridge into dozens of waterfront homes lined with pleasure craft –– continued that trend here. With a bridge at N. Federal Highway finally opening in 1953, Coral Point sold quickly, its waterfront lots commanding between $8,000 and $9,000 each according to the Wilton Manors Historical Society.
Residential developments like Coral Point and the growing popularity of fiberglass boats helped make the dream of waterfront living and ocean access a real possibility for residents moving into Wilton Manors.
By 1960, Wilton Manors had expanded in all directions to reach its current borders. As the building boom continued, Wilton Manors leaders worked tirelessly to provide their residents needed services and to create a livable community welcoming people from all walks of life. By the late 1990s, Wilton Manors was already becoming well known for the diversity of its residents, a population that helped fuel the real estate recovery here. As is the case in so many east-side neighborhoods, demand has out-stripped the supply of real estate. However, Coral Point remains true to its original vision as a dreamy, languid community.
Coral Point owes much of this tranquility to its topography. The concept of “through traffic” for many a Coral Point resident involves kayaks, paddle boarders and pleasure crafts floating past on the Middle River. The prevalence of waterfront activities notwithstanding, residents enjoy the nearby, 6.5-acre Colohatchee Park as well as restaurants along the N Federal Highway corridor or outdoor cafés a few blocks west. With a new Starbucks, the much-loved Stork’s Bakery as well as The Yard, a more bohemian dining enclave, options abound nearby for just about any mood or out-of town guest.
With ever-increasing demand for the high quality of life possible here, the price tag on a slice of heaven in Coral Point is significantly higher than it was in the 1950s, averaging $675,000 for a 2,075 square foot, dry lot home or $800,000 for a 2,225 square foot, waterfront home. At press time there was only 1 property on the market in Coral Point, a 2,434 square foot, 3-bedroom, 2-bath home with a 2-car garage offered at $875,000.
On The Market in Coral Point
2017 NE 21st Court
3 bed, 2 bath
2,434 Square Feet
Florida Luxurious Properties
Recently Sold in Coral Point
1916 NE 24th Street
3 bed, 2 bath
2,450 Square Feet
Castelli Real Estate Services
2216 NE 19th Avenue
3 bed, 3 bath
2,068 Square Feet
Jane Wheatly, Gayle Borden