How a real estate developer saved a beloved bookstore

Amanda De Seta swooped in to buy The Bookstore in the Grove, which was going to close permanently. Photograph by Felipe Cuevas.
Amanda De Seta swooped in to buy The Bookstore in the Grove, which was going to close permanently. Photograph by Felipe Cuevas.

If superheroes are required to wear a cape and tights, Amanda De Seta — in four-inch Jimmy Choos and designer threads — didn’t get the memo.

De Seta, the founder and owner of real estate development firm LointerHome, performs audacious acts like turning abandoned lots into community art installations, creating new housing in Miami that is both livable and affordable, and rescuing the occasional local cultural institution.

Soon after The Bookstore in the Grove announced it would close this summer after 10 years in business, De Seta swooped in and bought the place. She said the decision was easy.

“I live in the Grove, I work in the Grove, and the bookstore is part of the Grove,” said De Seta, 42. “What’s the point of building pretty things if we don’t preserve the actual city?”

She prefers Miami to L.A. 

Amanda De Seta
Amanda De Seta's not just building luxury properties. She's also fashioning Miami into a better place for everyone. Photograph by Felipe Cuevas.

In a previous career, De Seta worked as a creative executive at 20th Century Fox in Los Angeles. She would renovate old houses as a way to relieve stress, tapping into her love for restoring antique furniture.

De Seta fell in love with Miami during a vacation here with her daughter, who is now 8. They moved to Coconut Grove in 2010, and De Seta pursued LointerHome.

At The Bookstore, she’s overseeing a makeover that includes new paint, glass chandeliers, wood floors, a bar area, updated furniture and a revamped café menu. Chef Adriana Egozcue and general manager Amber Rapicavoli, both alums of Eating House and Glass & Vine, are in charge of the restaurant portion.

Amanda De Seta’s beloved dog

LointerHome is a nod to De Seta’s late dog, Ben. When she adopted him, De Seta thought Ben was a labrador-pointer mix — a lointer, she liked to say. He was actually an Australian Cattle Dog, and he spent almost every day of his 14-year life by De Seta’s side.

How to revive a community

On the residential side of her business, De Seta’s current projects range from luxury office buildings and upscale vacation rentals to affordable single-family homes and an ambitious workforce housing community.

A seven-acre space LointerHome is developing near Miami International Airport will include housing units, grassy fields, a daycare, an education complex and a community center. “It’s been a fascinating project to design, build and think about,” De Seta said. “It’s not just about spreadsheets and numbers.”

Closer to home, De Seta’s Glass House Project will bring six modern, single-family homes to the Grove. Before construction on each site began, De Seta came up with the idea to host a pop-art series on the empty lots. She invited local artists to create sculptures out of wood, which will later be used to help construct the houses.

“We took something that was completely dead and began to bring it back to life, to revive it,” she said.