Property Manager Spotlight on Michael Harned, the best of Brickell

Michael A. Harned is the quintessential community association manager (aka property manager). He’s an example of what most aspire to be: calm, cool and professional, not to mention impeccably dressed. He is the perfect match for one of Brickell Avenue’s most luxurious properties, the Santa Maria. This complex, constructed on historic property with some of the original buildings restored, artfully combines old and new, classic and contemporary. Meet the gentleman who oversees day-to-day life in this first of a new series for BHA News focused on those who manage our condominium communities.

Michael Harned was born in Macon, Georgia in 1960, but spent the first part of his childhood in Brooklyn, New York. His family eventually moved to Westfield and then Edison, New Jersey before making its way back to Macon in 1970. In 1980, at the ripe age of 20, Michael decided it was time to leave home. He originally considered moving to Atlanta, but finally decided to join his father here in Miami.

Michael began his property management career in 1984 with GDG Service, Inc., precursor to The Continental Group, Inc. His first assignment was The Promenade at Kendale Lakes, one of the premier Kendall properties at the time. In January of 1989 he began managing Brickell Townhouse. It was here that Michael began his relationship with BHA.

“Tory Jacobs was just beginning to sow the seeds of BHA,” remembered Michael. “Brickell Townhouse was one of the very first buildings to join BHA, with Mac Seligman as its representative. Mac and I, along with Jeffrey Giodorno, prepared and presented the first BHA Security Seminar for all of the buildings on Brickell Avenue; it was held at Brickell Place.”

Not long after, in 1992, Michael had to call on a different set of skills when Brickell Townhouse took a beating at the hands of Hurricane Andrew. He and his new employer, The Continental Group, ultimately undertook a $20.5 million dollar repair and refurbishment project as a result of the damage meted out by the Category 5 storm.

In 2000, Michael left Brickell Townhouse to manage the Santa Maria on Brickell. “The Santa Maria on Brickell is truly an amazing building,” said Michael, “It has many amenities, from its beautiful architecture, gorgeous lobby and spacious apartments, to its rich décor, historic grounds and quality construction materials.”

Michael knows his property. In fact, you can thank him for the synopsis that follows.

The property the Santa Maria on Brickell sits on is comprised of three distinct parcels of land – the estates of the Davol family, the Roome family and the former site of Fort Brickell. The Mansion was built on the Davol family estate in 1926. When Lillian Davol passed away in 1952, the estate was purchased by Dr. Luis Malaussena, a famous architect in Caracas, Venezuela. He named the home La Santa Maria. His daughter, Mercedes, married Maurice Ferre in 1959. The Ferres moved into La Santa Maria in 1963 after the passing of Dr. Malaussena. They resided in the home until 1980, when it was sold to a development corporation. Ugo Columbo’s CMC Management developed the property into the spectacular residence it is today for some 174 unit owners.

The Mansion, the four carriage houses, the coral rock wall along Brickell Avenue and the archway over the exit from the property were all built in 1926. Naturally Michael is glad that these were preserved, explaining, “There are not many modern buildings in Miami that can be part of Miami’s rich history in this manner.”

The “Tower” stands on the old Roome Estate and a portion of what was once Fort Brickell. Fort Brickell was located on the bayfront behind the Tower, and was used as a battery to guard Miami against a Spanish invasion via Cuba during the Spanish-American War.

When asked about personal hobbies, Michael doesn’t hesitate. “Home remodeling and gardening,” he says. “I’m beginning a project to gut and remodel my guest bathroom on the first floor.” Harned also finds time to add to his large collection of books and vinyl records from the 1950s through the 70s. His latest hobby is collecting Wedgwood cufflinks.

Michael is equally forthcoming about why he loves to work in the Brickell area. “I have been working in the Brickell area for the past 23 years and have seen the good, the bad and the ugly,” says Michael. “Brickell Avenue has always held historical significance and is one of the first avenues in Miami to be populated by high rise buildings.”

Thinking about how much things have changed since he came to Brickell he adds, “I remember if you wanted to go out to eat someplace close, you had a handful of options. Now the options are endless: great restaurants, three Publix supermarkets within a mile, Mary Brickell Village and of course, the upcoming Brickell CitiCentre. Not to mention there are now first-rate hotels built in the area for family and friends. Brickell really is the best place to work and live.”

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