Coral Gables' unique past is evident today, not only in the preservation of its architecture and landmarks, but in the spirit of its residents and the philosophy that guides its government.
George Merrick drew from the Garden City and City Beautiful movements of the 19th and early 20th century to create in 1925 one of the nation's first fully-planned communities. Incorporating secluded residential enclaves and commercial areas inspired by the architectural style of the Mediterranean, Merrick envisioned a City that would offer every amenity to its residents and at the same time would become a center for international business. In every respect, Merrick's dream has come true.
The same principles that made Coral Gables a success at its inception guide the City's current policies. The community's and the City's emphasis on protecting the residential sectors, preserving the natural environment and maintaining an international flavor are all long-standing traditions.
In addition, in 1973 Coral Gables was one of the first cities in Florida to adopt a Historical Resources Ordinance, creating a Historical Resources Board and establishing a procedure for local landmark designations. Since then, the past has also been preserved in the form of buildings — significant either because of their architecture or because of the historic events or important figures associated with them.
Today, Coral Gables boasts one of only three National Landmarks in Miami-Dade County: The Biltmore Hotel, designated in 1996. There are also nine properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including Coral Gables Merrick House, Venetian Pool and Coral Gables City Hall, as well as over 1300 locally designated properties.
In the past three decades, the City has experienced healthy growth, which has bolstered the economic base. Today, Coral Gables is home to approximately 155 multinationals and 26 consulates and trade offices. It is also known as the Fine Dining Capital of South Florida and has the highest concentration of live theater in Miami-Dade County. Growth in the commercial sector has brought a wealth of new activities for residents, including nighttime entertainment, live music, casual and fine dining, and new retail options. It has also helped maintain low property taxes. At the same time, the residential areas have remained protected from commercial intrusion.
The City supports both the residential and business sectors with excellent City services, having attained the highest possible standards in every field. In fact, Coral Gables is the only City in the State of Florida and one of only two cities nationwide to have a Class 1 Fire Department, a fully-accredited Police Department, and the highest awarded Building and Zoning Department rating. In addition, Coral Gables has been named a "Tree City USA" for 26 consecutive years; it has an award-winning Communications Division and offers one of the most comprehensive Parks and Recreation programs in the state.
"The Building of Coral Gables has not been a thing of the moment, but a wonderful monument that will as solidly endure as does the everlasting coral upon which it is founded." - George Merrick, 1926