The collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium building introduced of Surfside to much of the world and probably to some in South Florida in a tragic, horrifying manner.
These are some facts about a slice of Miami beach life that isn’t Miami Beach.
What is Surfside?
It’s a town, incorporated in 1935, with a mayor (Charles Burkett), vice mayor (Tina Paul) and three city commissioners. The positions are paid, but not full-time jobs. Not all the homes are on the beach, but all are within walking distance and many are in condominium buildings that have the beach as a backyard.
Where is Surfside?
Surfside is bordered on the south by Miami Beach at 87th Street, on the north by Bal Harbour at 96th Street, on the west by Bay Drive and on the east by the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s the first town you hit as you drive up Collins Avenue out of Miami Beach. If you’re driving south to Miami Beach, Surfside is where you are immediately after you pass Bal Harbour Shops mall.
The condominium that fell, Champlain Towers South at 8777 Collins Ave., sits just inside Surfside’s southern border.
How many people live in Surfside?
Though the 2020 Census numbers haven’t been totaled, the 2019 U.S. Census estimate put Surfside’s population around 5,651, an edge down from the 2010 Census total of 5,744. Of that 5,651, the Census estimates about 54.1% identified as non-Hispanic white, 44.7% as Hispanic, 0.6% as biracial in some way and 0.0% as Black or African-American.
What’s in Surfside?
Aside from the beach and beachfront hotels, there’s a bustling retail area that runs for a few blocks of Harding Avenue.
The Surfside/Bal Harbour/Bay Harbour Islands area also has four synagogues for observers of Judaism.
Reading street names
The streets that run north and south are named for authors, such as Hawthorne, Emerson and Dickens. But Isaac Singer Boulevard runs east and west after the town put that name on 95th Street, where Singer lived before his 1991 death.
How much money is in Surfside?
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates Surfside’s median household income for 2015-2019 at $69,063, as compared to the city of Miami’s $39,049. Only about 8.5% of Surfside residents live under the poverty level.
The Census Bureau puts the median home value at $625,500 and the median rent at $1,977, both higher than Miami Beach ($459,000 and $1,396, respectively).
Lynda Carter, television’s Wonder Woman, just bought a place at the Four Seasons Residences at the Surf Club for $15 million.