Situated in the Village of Pinecrest at the junction of Red Road and Old Cutler Road, the Smathers Four Fillies Farm estate encloses 32 acres of green and tropical landscape.
What may seem like a scene from the countryside is actually a 30-home development, an oasis and residence for the University of Miami’s faculty that also serves as one of the leading examples of sustainable building in the Miami area.
Philanthropist Frank Smathers donated this unique property to UM 16 years ago with several mandates: only UM faculty residents are permitted to live there, and the environmental assets must be maintained and preserved.
With these practices in mind, the eventual developers, Miami Asset Management Company, initiated the plans for Four Fillies Farm in 2004, started the development process in 2005 and began selling units in 2007.
Patrick Burbank, assistant vice president of the developmental sector of MAMCO, noted that instead of utilizing the entire property, the developers built three-to-five bedroom homes on 11 acres, leaving the other two-thirds of Four Fillies Farm in its original state.
Rates for these homes range from the low $800,000 to $1.5 million, but even at these exorbitant prices, 22 out of the 30 homes available are already occupied.
The houses boast state-of-the-art building materials and include energy efficient features. Locally sourced materials, dual-flush toilets and steel framing are just some of the methods MAMCO instituted to make the houses and community a sustainable force to be reckoned with.
Burbank explained that using materials such as steel instead of wood framing not only makes the structure termite-resistant, but also serves as a better renewable energy source.
“We recognize that sustainable development is a responsibility of developers,” Burbank said.
MAMCO has not taken that responsibility lightly, and is relentlessly promotin genergy conservation as well as provide a sustainable dwelling for the residents.
UM Professor Antonio Nanni, chairman of the engineering department, was one of the first residents of Four Fillies Farm. Both he and his family chose to relocate to the Miami area in 2007, and, Nanni said, this new development was one of the fundamental reasons for doing so.
He believes factors unique to Four Fillies Farm, such as better insulation, impact resistant windows, and low water consumption, will turn out to be less demanding of the environment.
“This institution is a clear example of a greener society I am rather proud to be a part of,” he said.
Nanni may have been one of the first to call Four Fillies Farm his home, but he will not be the last.
“The president’s house should be in a sustainable community and leed certified,” President Donna Shalala said in an e-mail to The Miami Hurricane.
MAMCO is now in the conceptual stages of providing a residence for the university president.