Condominium Review of East Wind Lake Village: Notes From a Long-Time Resident

The “fake Swiss chalet look” that many homeowner’s associations near my former home adopted when Trafalgar developed that section of Fountainbleau Park. Photo by the author.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

I lived in East Wind Lake Village from February 1978 to April 2016. My mom bought a 3 bedroom/2 bath townhouse from plans in the fall of 1977 and did the closing in mid-February of ’78, two months after the promised completion date. So this pretty much is as authoritatively a review as East Wind Lake Village will get anywhere. (The manager will probably hate me for it, too, but I live far, far away from there now, so what the hey.)

The eponymous (and man-made) East Wind Lake. See those houses on the shore? The owners pay higher HOA fees than other, non-lake view owners do. Photo by the author.

First, let me say that when we moved in, things went awry pretty fast. Like a lot of developments built in South Florida at the time, the developers (Trafalgar, a division of General Electric) had only one mission: build things fast and cheap. There was no real thought put into the color scheme (beige and dark brown) other than to make the condos uniform and fakey-Swiss. Obviously, no one told the architects that dark-colored roofs absorb heat during the day, which made the upper story much warmer in summer, especially on scorching-hot days, and especially if you had a bedroom that had westward-facing windows or sliding glass doors. (I did!)

I remember going with Mom and my now-estranged half-sister to the building site sometime in September ’77; the builders were just starting work on our section of East Wind Lake Village (Phase II, I think it was). I was not impressed; the road leading to the cul-de-sac on NW 5th Terrace was paved and the various lots were in pre-construction mode…basically the foundation was there, and the driveway space marked off, but everything else was piles of building materials with the number 56 spray painted on each pile (our house was Bldg. 56. which was not part of the mailing address but was part of the legal one). I was only 14 at the time but I was underwhelmed by the whole thing.

Maps of EWLV (Image credit: Google Maps)

I mention all this as prologue because Mom and I had lots of issues at East Wind Lake Village even before the condo association broke away from Fontainebleau Park. The stairs that led to the second floor had a loose step (the next to the last on the way down) that gave way and nearly killed me. It was fixed pronto, but it was shored up, not replaced, so it was always a bit….dodgy.

From then on, we had issues with the roof (it has a tendency to leak, especially if the condo doesn’t check or repair units on a regular basis), the balcony/sliding glass door upstairs (water can seep in through any openings or seams between the door frame and the interior walls), the trellis, the patio overhead, the fence (you have no idea how many times I had to call Maritza, who was the condo’s manager at the time, to have that fence fixed), and a whole bunch of issues.

Google Maps “street view” photo of the complex as seen from NW 97h Avenue.

Maintenance includes the water bill, but it is extremely high (Before I sold the condo in 2017, the monthly fee was up to nearly $400 a month for units not near the lake, higher for homes on the lake).

Security is barely adequate; I had at least one “call the police” break-in and another “can’t prove it was a break-in, but it was” situation), but they at least try to give the illusion of security.

The condo is responsible for all outside repairs, and repainting as well, but they are lethargically slow at doing things (unless you have lots of pull with the Board of Directors or sit on the Board.

Another shot of the lake. I took this photo during a “mental health break walk” in 2014, when I was my late mother’s principal caregiver.

See that? You have no idea how often I had to deal with management to get that fence fixed,

And when they do paint, they often choose the cheapest and least professional painters.

The neighborhood has slipped down in quality since ’78. I chalk it to the various factors, including:

White Flight – when we moved into the house in ’78, Mom, my half-sister, and I were among the few Hispanics on our block. Now, you have to search high and low to find more than one American (Anglo) family on each block. (Maybe I’m exaggerating, but not by much.)

Becoming Independent from Fontainebleau –  “it’ll save owners money,” they said. “Management will be more responsive,” they said – was a disaster.

The only asset that East Wind Lake Village has now is that it is close to everything. Or almost everything. Miami International Airport (MIA) is about 10 minutes away by car. There are several shopping centers within short drives or even reasonable walking distances. Several schools are right next to the complex (great if you are a kid, not so great if you have to drive through school zones during school hours).

I have been away for nearly five years now. Do I miss EWLV? Sometimes. I miss walking to Winn Dixie and getting needed groceries. or going to the Denny’s nearby when the mood struck me. Mom left me the house after she passed. and I had planned on either staying there forever or renting it but still owning it. Then East Wind Lake Village forbade renting…and certain events transpired which caused me to move out of the county anyway. I could not rent, so I had to sell. Miss it, I do, sometimes, but I’m glad I left.

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

2 thoughts on “Condominium Review of East Wind Lake Village: Notes From a Long-Time Resident

    1. I have only hazy memories about the places in Bogota where I lived between age 3 and age 9. I was saddened to learn that the one-and-only house where I lived with Mom and my older half-sister in Bogota (we lived in large apartments most of the time there, and we always rented) was, by 1993, a seafood market, and I have only foggy memories of it.

      If I ever won the Big Prize of the Florida Lottery and could afford to move back to Miami, I WOULD NOT offer to buy back the townhouse I owned. If I were to buy any of the other two homes where we lived in the 305, I’d buy the one my father bought for Mom the year I was born or the house where we lived before Mom sold it in 1977.

      Of the two, I’d prefer the latter, since the house Dad bought is bigger and has a swimming pool. I really don’t need the headaches of pool care and liability insurance!

      Liked by 1 person

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