Palm Beach Isles

With water views as far as the eye can see, this rustic community on Singer Island is a little slice of heaven — for boaters and non-boaters alike.


Special to The Palm Beach Post RIVIERA BEACH — Palm

Beach Isles is that rare community with a name that truly fits: old Florida style, classic Intracoastal views and deepwater

docks. Canals dredged out of the Intracoastal Waterway in the 1950s allowed this neighborhood to be built and that means that six of the community’s streets sit on islands within Singer Island, reachable only by the neighborhood’s bridges or by boat.

Palm Beach Isles is made up of 10 streets with 317 homes; 171 of them on the waterfront. It’s primarily canal waterfront but nearly 20 homes are directly on the Lake Worth Lagoon. Either way, they’re all deepwater docks just minutes from the Palm Beach Inlet and the Jupiter Inlet — and that makes Palm Beach Isles an unusual place. “It’s really a unique community here,” says Sherry Temple, a real estate agent with Illustrated Properties who has lived and sold in the neighborhood for 20 years. “We’ve got some of the deepest, widest canals in Palm Beach County. Boaters will buy in this community just to dock a big boat.” “How many homes can you find with a 200-foot dock?” says Michelle Coppola, a luxury home specialist with RE/MAX who is the listing agent for a renovated Palm Beach Isles home on the Intracoastal with that dock, plus a $3.9 million price tag. “If you have a 100-foot yacht, you can park there without a problem. Otherwise you’re looking to have to use a marina.”

Many of the homes in the neighborhood that directly face the Intracoastal offer similar extra-large docks and multimillion-dollar listing prices. But even Coppola acknowledges “the

house is a little bit out of its element on that strip. All the homes on the tip of the island are, but it’s a lot cheaper than a house in Palm Beach.” And sometimes buyers like the rest of the neighborhood, because it’s the rest of the neighborhood

that gives Palm Beach Isles its charm and appeal. Overwhelmingly, it is a laidback boater’s

paradise: few over the top restrictions, just $100 a year in homeowners’ association dues, no gates or fussiness. Walk to the beach, keep the boat in the backyard, and stroll over to the neighbor’s house for a fresh-caught meal. “These are old little houses, but they wouldn’t trade the location for anything,” Temple

says. And honestly, most of the homes aren’t that small. Lot sizes primarily run 100 feet by 110 feet and the houses had to be at least 1,500 square feet under air with a two-car garage. The oldest homes were built in 1959, with most coming in the 1960s and 1970s, realtors say. Average size is probably 2,000 square feet under air with at least three bedrooms. Listing prices today start at $399,000 for two homes: a three-bedroom, three-bath and a four-bedroom, two-bath – both without pools or waterfront. The highest is $3.9 million. In between, seven waterfront homes are listed for less than $1 million and seven waterfront homes are listed between $1 million and $1.5 million.

“It’s a little more informal than Palm Beach,” Coppola says. “This is more of a family neighborhood. And Singer Island has become … they’re calling it ‘the other Palm Beach.’ ” Of course, that they live in a beautiful place isn’t news to anyone in Palm Beach Isles. Temple, whose husband bought their house in 1972, raves about the privacy, the friendliness of the neighbors, even the lack of bugs from the salt air that’s always blowing a little bit. “It’s just a casual, easy lifestyle,” she says. “It’s just a healthy atmosphere. People are outdoors. We grill every night. We like the breezes, the beach.” She also likes that it isn’t a showy place and that there isn’t too much going on, despite the necessities in “downtown,” including a post office, a bank, a pizza joint and a few other businesses. “I like that it’s a little island and there isn’t a lot here. What you see is what you get.” It is slightly removed but still centrally located – between the airport, the Kravis Center, Palm Beach Gardens and Jupiter, nearly everything is easy to reach. Insurance isn’t cheap, although most homes fared pretty well through the three hurricanes in recent years, residents say. But Temple’s insurance is up to $7,000, for example. And although some families live here, along with about 20 to 25 percent snowbirds, most who do choose to send their young children to private schools. The zoned public schools are A-rated Lincoln Elementary, C-rated John F. Kennedy Middle and B-rated William T. Dwyer High. (Lincoln received an A for 2007, but an F in 2006 and nothing higher than a C in previous years.) Still, for most, Palm Beach Isles is like heaven on Earth. Or, as 12-year resident Virginia Pugh DallVechia says: “like living on top of Macy’s.” “The water, the view, the dock – that’s the secret on Singer Island,” Coppola says. “That’s about it for Palm Beach Isles.”