(WSVN) - The largest development in Coral Gables history has taken shape, and the first tenants have moved in, but one homeowner who refused to sell to the developer still refuses to move out. Kevin Ozebek has an update to a story the 7 Investigates team has followed for years.

The brand-new Loews Coral Gables Hotel has palatial suites and a stunning rooftop pool, but what really grabs the attention of many guests is what’s right across from the lobby doors.

Kevin Ozebek: “What was your initial impression seeing this house?”

David Graham, visiting from Toronto: “That it shouldn’t be here, but it’s here.”

Sin Graham, visiting from Toronto: “I just thought it was like a part of the maintenance building of this whole complex.”

What you’re looking at is the home of Orlando Capote.

His house sits smack-dab in the middle of The Plaza Coral Gables, a new high-end development that also includes shops and condos.

Orlando Capote: “People come, they stop, they take pictures.”

The 7 Investigates team first met Orlando in 2019. Construction was booming just feet from his home.

We visited again in 2021 as high-rise parking garages were built around his home.

Orlando Capote: “Here’s some of the debris.”

Orlando pointed out what he said was construction materials that fell onto his property.

Kevin Ozebek: “Since we were here two years ago, it’s changed quite a bit.”

Orlando Capote: “That’s an understatement.”

As the buildings begin to fill with tenants. Orlando says, construction clatter is being replaced by the hustle and bustle of people. A cantina bar is prepared to open right next to his house.

Orlando Capote: “It is never going to be peaceful.”

He also really misses his old view.

Orlando Capote: “I miss looking at the sky. I can’t see a sunset or sunrise. I can’t see the moon or the stars. That was one of my hobbies, astronomy. All that is gone.”

And huge planters placed in front of his house, right on the edge of his property line, really get under his skin.

Orlando Capote “Don’t forget the coffins.”

Kevin Ozebek: “Why do you call these the coffins?”

Orlando Capote “To me, they look like coffins.”

Despite seeing his neighborhood transform from rows of single-family homes into a massive mixed-use development, Orlando says he’s staying put.

Kevin Ozebek: “Any regret not selling the home?”

Orlando Capote: “No.”

His now late parents bought the home in the ’80’s after moving from Cuba.

Kevin Ozebek: “Is that why this means so much to you?”

Orlando Capote: “Don’t go there, don’t go there. Yes, it is a part of the story.”

As Orlando sees it, his parents worked hard to obtain the American dream, and the city snatched it by allowing the development.

Orlando Capote: “The city of Coral Gables. Of the people, by the people, for the developers.”

A Coral Gables spokesperson tells 7News, “According to the developers … Mr. Capote was offered alternatives, including the purchase of his property, which he declined.”

David Graham: “Sometimes it’s not about the money. It’s about legacy, and I think it’s important to him.”

For these hotel guests, learning the history of the home makes this an even more intriguing sight.

Kevin Ozebek: “Is it an eyesore?”

Sin Graham: “Actually, no. I think it is cute.”

And now they know why there’s just one house still standing, a relic from a different era in South Florida.

Kevin Ozebek, 7News.

The 7 Investigates team did also reach out to the Loews Hotel and the developer for comment. Neither returned the messages.


Copyright 2024 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox