Florida man, 63, rejects $900K to keep 'home of memories' amid massive development project

Orlando Capote said that his family home was bought by his father in 1989 after he fled Cuba to live in the US


                            Florida man, 63, rejects $900K to keep 'home of memories' amid massive development project
Orlando Capote's home (CBS 4 Miami)

A Florida man has reportedly refused to sell his family home, while it's getting almost engulfed by a $600M commercial development project. Orlando Capote’s refusal has also drawn comparison to 2009 movie ‘Up’. Pete Docter’s film saw an old man named Carl Fredricksen putting his foot down to not sell his home and to save it. He attaches thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the South American wilderness.

That was fiction. However, 63-year-old Capote is adamant about his decision as well. Capote told CBS4 News that his family home was bought by his father in 1989 after he fled Cuba to live in the US. He said that his father purchased the house after working double jobs. “The house is my soul. So what good is it to sell your soul for all the money in the world?” he stated.

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Local media outlets have reported that the commercial development is “the most mega commercial development in Coral Gables history.” Agave Ponce LLC is behind the project — the Plaza Coral Gables — that includes restaurants, residences, office space, shops, and even a 242-room luxury hotel.

The website of The Plaza Coral Gables claimed that it “is revitalizing this city business district section while keeping the beauty and balance of its design as a priority while bringing a full range of services and opportunities to the community, including a 4.5 Star Loews hotel with meeting space for business and social events, class “A” offices, street-level shopping and dining areas, residential lofts and apartments. The new design incorporates a 1-acre open to the public plaza facing Ponce de Leon Blvd. and the soon-to-be-improved Ponce Circle Park.”

Orlando Capote is adamant that he wouldn't sell his home (CBS4)

“The Plaza Coral Gables will have a positive impact on the quality of life and safety of the community through the creation of new spaces for dining, recreation and the promotion of artistic, cultural and outdoor activities,” the site added.

However, Capote is unmoved by all these developments. He has reportedly even said no to offers of up to $900,000 for the two-bedroom, two-bathroom 1,300 square-feet home. For the last six years, the man had gotten as many as 60 offers to sell his house.

Orlando Capote said, "The house is my soul" (CBS 4 Miami)

After losing his father in 2005, Capote lost his mother too in 2020. He said his mother’s last wish was to not sell the “family treasure.” “This was my father’s dream house. It took 20 years for him to find it. This house is like a hard drive. As I look around and live in it and move through it, I relive a lot of memories. That I could not find in another house,” Capote said. He also added that his parents’ memories are still with him in the house. “I do not feel alone in the house,” he added.

Orlando Capote's family home seen in this picture (CBS 4 Miami)

Besides, the elderly man also alleged that the city has broken numerous violations. “You can see some of the trash that has already fallen on the side which would not happen if the building was actually 35 feet high or at least 50 feet away,” Capote said. But Coral Gables officials dismissed his allegations as they stated: “The issues raised have been extensively reviewed and investigated.”

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