From Everglades to Industrial Center to
Hometown - The City of Doral
(Based on information provided by
Ciudad Doral article written by Cindy Rodriguez-Pereira)
In the late 1950s, real estate pioneer Alfred and Doris Kaskel
purchased 2,400 acres of swampland between NW 36 Street and NW
74 Street and from NW 79 Avenue to NW 117 Avenue for about
$49,000 with the intention of building a golf course and
hotel. In 1962, the Kaskel's dream came true when they opened
a hotel and country club that featured the Blue, Red and Par 3
golf courses. They named it Doral - a combination of Alfred
According to a story in The Miami Herald,
Alfred was born in Poland and migrated to New York when he was
21 years old and became a real estate developer. His first
project was building 15,000 apartments in New York. After
marrying Doris, the Kaskels moved south and built the Doral
Beach Hotel and the Carillon Hotel on Miami Beach. Once the
Country Club was built, guests were transported from the Beach
to the Country Club for a day on the golf course.
As Doral's very first structure, the Doral
Hotel and Country Club became the area's hot spot. In the
second year of operation, the Kaskels hosted the first Doral
Open Invitational, Florida's major PGA event. Alfred offered
$50,000 in prize money to attract well-known golfers. To put
it in perspective, according to the South Florida Golf
Foundation, there were only three other tournaments being held
in Florida at the time with a combined total of $65,000 prize
Today, the Doral Golf Resort & Spa,
located at NW 87 Avenue and NW 36 Street, is internationally
famous for its golf courses, especially the Blue Monster, and
still hosts the PGA Tour Tournament every year.
The Spa, originally called the Saturnia
International Spa, was added to the Resort in 1987 and is
ranked as one of the top spa destinations in the US and the
largest in the state of Florida.
By the early '80s, Doral started to experience the first
spurts of growth when Alfred's and Doris' grandson Bill
developed Doral Estates that was followed by a joint venture
with Lennar Homes to build Doral Park. Both communities were
named after the Hotel, a trend that was to be repeated many
Younger families started flooding the area
but had to travel to purchase even the most basic essentials,
because there were no stores - or schools or parks. Although
the majority of the original homes were investment properties
or second homes, the early fulltime residents believed that
the quality of life and the low housing costs far exceeded the
lack of amenities and started coming together as a community.
Traffic problems were nonexistent, except
for the occasional escaped cow. There were more farms with
cows, horses and chickens that people on NW 107 Avenue; NW 87
Avenue was just two lanes and NW 41 Street ended at NW 104
From 1983-85, the county imposed a
building moratorium for the area to protect the well fields.
Once the ban was lifted, Doral experienced tremendous growth.
The West Dade Federation of Homeowner Associations was formed
in 1989 under the leadership of Morgan Levy to stand strong
against any proposals that threatened the community's welfare.
As a result of their efforts, a police station instead of a
jail was built, higher development standards were implemented,
and more lighting, roads and landscaping appeared in the area.
Incorporation began in earnest in 1995
with the realization that residents were paying a very high
price for services received; they wanted more services at a
reasonable price. The County met the first attempt at
incorporation with a year's deferral. Doral had been
classified as a "donor community," meaning that the taxes paid
were more than the cost of operations. With the defferal,
incorporation efforts intensified even more.
The County was allowing unchecked growth
that was detrimental to the residents. In 1996, the first
election of the Community Council was held and soon-to-be
County Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Cancio, Sr., Mario Pita and
Barbara B. Thomas were elected and three other members were
appointed. The Council met every month to work on different
projects and to address the needs of the community.
In 2002, the Governor appointed Cancio to fill the
remainder of Commissioner Miriam Alonso's term of office; she
had been suspended after an arrest on felony charges. Doral
residents hoped that his appointment would be the impetus to
bring the community closer to incorporation, and Cancio did
not let his community down.
In the meantime, Cancio named Juan Carlos
Bermudez, the City of Doral's first elected Mayor, as his
replacement to the Community Council. Bermudez declined the
offer and ran for the seat and was elected. At the time,
Bermudez was president of One Doral, a civic organization
formed to counteract the perceived influence of the West Dade
Federation on the Council. The Miami Herald reported that
Bermudez intended to create a transparent government in Doral
by bringing a balance to the table. One Doral and the West
Dade Federation were instrumental in the incorporation
In January 2003, following a seven year
battle, 85% of the voters in Doral voted in favor of
incorporation. At long last, they had their own new city with
a local government and more service for their tax dollars. In
June of the same year, 92% voted to accept the City Charter
and elected their first Mayor and City Council - Mayor Juan
Carlos Bermudez, Vice Mayor Pete Cabrera, and Council Members
Mike DiPietro, Sandra Ruiz, and Robert Van Name. In August,
the City Council took their oath of office.
In 2002, the KSL Hotel Corporation, the
company now operating Doral Golf Resort & Spa, filed a lawsuit
against Hotel Intercontinental for using Doral in its name.
They also wanted the new City to pay $1,000 a month for 22
years for use of the name Doral. The elected officials went to
bat and the Resort agreed not to charge for the name usage.
The Hotel also reached an agreement and changed its name to
Intercontinental at Doral Miami.
The City of Doral has come a very long way
in a very short time and is attracting positive attention from
Fortune 100 corporations, mom-and-pop businesses, young
families and retirees. More and more people are choosing Doral
every day - For all the right reasons!
Green Arrow Indicates - Doral Chamber of
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