This old postcard shows an earlier era. Of note, the large crowd around the bayside pool, the yachts at the Marina Restaurant, the painted deck over the Utilities building, the design on the top of the porte cocheres, the original configuration of the marina, prior to the lifts, which allowed larger boats, the absence of a high rise next door. If you can provide more accurate dating or descriptions, like the name of the restaurant, or what was the plan for the current BBQ area, please share them.
Plans for the The Hemispheres were submitted in 1967. It was designed by architect Robert C. West as a resort hotel offering long term leases. Bernard Cornfield, the head of Investors Over Seas Service organized a small group of foreign investors who controlled blocks of apartments, available for short term stays or long term leases. The Bay North Building opened in 1970. The other three buildings opened in 1972. Among early purchasers of long term leases was the family of Mazie Ford, once Florida's Oldest Living Person.
Bernard Cornfield, under investigation by the SEC, having problems getting financing for the other buildings, lost control of the IOC to Robert C. Vesco (who was also under investigation. In 1976 their activities and The Hemispheres was a major focus of a US House Committee investigating control of off shore owners. One of the issues involved The Hemispheres payment of grossly excess management fees to the company they controlled which managed La Mer at a fraction of the fees. Robert Vesco's infamous history is further detailed in the TIMELINE. The Hemispheres offered many amenities, including its own restaurants, membership in a golf club, a separate Yacht Club. Visit OLD BROCHURES.
In 1979 The Hemispheres sought to become a separate taxing district. The required vote was scheduled, then cancelled when it became clear that it might require open public access.
!n 2003, the Hemispheres opposed the development of the property to the north on the Bay side and the south on the Ocean side. They eventually reached an agreement with the 43-50 story Yacht Club developers preserving the sight lines. The following year, Shahab Karmely (KAR developers) purchased the property to the south of the Ocean South building and filed plans for a high rise. The Hemispheres accepted the plans in consideration of $1,300,000 compensation. Construction on the 39 story 2000 Condo began in 2019,
The same year The Hemispheres began reconstruction of the parking lot next to 2000 and its owners approved an assessment to replace the roofs and restore the porte cocheres on all four buildings. Included in that assessment was needed work in the Marina, and replacement of the air conditioning tower, chillers and handlers
As you can see, we've only just begun. Because few of the old records still exist, a more detailed history will depend on the help of previous BOD members and knowledgeable owners. -
Share a memory, an experience riding out a hurricane that came or never showed up, a memory of a restaurant, a famous public person who was here (no one who still is without their permission, please), events in Ballroom, a big fish caught off the pier, a favorite employee who has moved or passed on.
AND, of course, share PICTURES!
To share send via an email to HISTORY (click here)