Got $30M to Spare? A Historic Miami Vice House In Coconut Grove Is For Sale

The two coolest things about the internet are 1) it allows you to dig up dang near any morsel of information you’re curious about, no matter how arcane, and 2) when you start stomping your figurative shovel into the fertile virtual soil, chances are someone’s already struck gold, excavated a mineshaft, shored it up, and illuminated it for your wonder and merriment.


Such was the case in early April when a colleague alerted us that a gorgeous old Coconut Grove house was recently listed for sale for $29.9 million. The big tease, though, was the mention of Miami Vice in headlines touting the listing for the home at 3467 N. Moorings Way, which dates to 1925 and was designed by famed architect Walter DeGarmo. Which brings us to an awesome forum,, and a pair of Austrian nationals, Thomas Foltyn and Tom Seifert, obsessive students of Miami Vice and the pastel-hued world of 1980s Miami in which Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs fought the War on Drugs and battled their own existential demons, often simultaneously.

Archival Location Scouting With Thomas Foltyn and Tom Seifert

Foltyn and Seifert were happy to describe their search strategy when New Times tracked them down. Simply put, the effort requires diligence, determination, and access to archival resources — the last of which include production notes from the show, the publicly accessible Miami-Dade Property Search page, and HistoricAerials, a privately run site that contains searchable aerial maps dating back to the mid-20th Century. Familiarity with the local landscape as it looked in the 1980s doesn’t hurt, either. Foltyn possesses all of the above.

Miami Vice started in my country on TV in late ’86 and I got hooked,” Foltyn explains. “Vienna was dull and gray and at the Iron Curtain, and Miami Vice changed my life.”

In the early 1990s, Foltyn studied abroad at the University of Miami, living near 22nd Street in Miami Beach during an era when “Wolfie’s, the Sasson Hotel, Club Nu, and the Gayety Burlesque were there.

“Everything still looked like in the mid-’80s,” Foltyn remembers, adding ruefully, “Then the condo builders took over.”

He began hunting down locations more than 20 years ago after he finished annotating the music used in the series. He’s currently putting the finishing touches on the 11th edition of his exhaustively researched Unauthorized “Miami Vice” Episode Guide. Perhaps not surprisingly, he and Seifert find it hard to sum up the method by which he and Seifert do their “location scouting.” Foltyn characterizes it as a very methodical approach, doing lots of stills.

“I use the German BluRays, as they are newly encoded and have the best-detailed picture of the original 35mm film,” said Foltyn. “Then we analyze everything from sun angle in outdoor scenes to reflections in mirrors, background, main power lines (which run north-south in most of Miami-Dade, etc.) to develop a search pattern. The key is to narrow it down to a very small haystack to find the needle.”

It may be no coincidence that he and Seifert both work in IT. They and their fellow sleuths have teamed up to nail down more than a thousand needles.

“We achieved perfection when the pandemic broke with lots of time and nowhere to go,” Foltyn elaborates. “The average find time was one to two weeks, but some tough nuts we searched for years. We have only five locations left to find. In the Jack Reacher series on Amazon, he always says, ‘In an investigation, every detail counts!’ Fully agree! I found the unknown horse farm in ‘One Way Ticket’ through the name of the horse on the stable door and a reverse check with the breeder’s name. I even found a picture of the horse. Or a few months ago, the interior scene in ‘Little Prince’ through the phone closeup where the number was on the phone,” which he was able to match via a contemporaneous New York Times travel story to the famed (and since demolished) Key Biscayne Hotel and Villas. I love finding things that other people deem impossible, although all intel is there to find if you look properly!”

 “When you actually find a location after hours of hurting your eyes by staring at blurry black-and-white aerials, it’s a moment of pure satisfaction, so you can quickly get hooked on it,” adds Seifert, a Vienna-born father of two who now lives in Switzerland. “You gotta have the eye for that and be able to fully focus and concentrate on something. To me, in our hectic world, it’s almost some kind of meditation.”

“Kinda ‘mental sanity maintenance,’ as Crockett would say,” Foltyn quips.

When Was 3467 N. Moorings Way Featured In Miami Vice?

Colloquially known as Villa Serenita, 3467 N. Moorings Way, appears in two separate episodes of Miami Vice. The first was “Rites of Passage” (season 1, episode 15), in the guise of a drug-treatment clinic. Principal photography for that episode was shot January 14-23, 1985, and the show aired on February 8. The other cameo came in “Miami Squeeze” (season 5, episode 11), as the residence of British drug dealer Sebastian Ross (principal photography January 5-13, 1989; first aired February 17). After years of fruitlessly searching, Seifert hit the jackpot in June 2020, when he matched scenes from “Miami Squeeze” with photos from a recently expired real estate listing for the North Moorings Way property.

“The Moorings Way house was actually one of the quickest finds I had — a lucky punch,” Seifert recounts. “Did a photo search on Google for “Spanish revival Miami,” scrolled through the results for five minutes, and there it was. Took another few minutes to confirm it with real estate ads [archived], and that was it.”

Source: Miami New Times

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