Coral Gables is a planned community developed by George Merrick beginning in the 1920s, spawned out of the City Beautiful movement. Nearly one hundred years ago, Merrick began down the path of converting his family’s grapefruit plantation and the surrounding tropical wilderness into a city. Inspired by the European tales he read in his youth, Merrick’s dream city would be named after his childhood home, Coral Gables.
The public buildings in Merrick's plans were all done in a lavish and grandiose Beaux Arts style, which also incorporated hints of Floridian flare.
The Colonnade building, now Hotel Colonnade, was designed by famed architect Phineas Paist and completed in November of 1926. The building was originally designed as Merrick's sales center for the community, and as such, was the centerpiece of the shopping area. Since the 1920s, the Colonnade has housed a variety of businesses, including a pilot training facility, the Colonnade Movie Studios and even a World War II parachute factory.