Miami  real estateFlagstone Development Group’s long-planned Island Gardens project has cleared its last Miami commission hurdle, although it could come back if a casino element is added.

Miami commissioners 4-1 last week approved a state waiver for commercial development on Watson Island, allowing the project to move forward. Michelle Spence-Jones voted against it.

Brian May, lobbyist for Flagstone, said the goal is to break ground in the first quarter of 2012, with construction of the development’s mega-yacht marina coming first. He also said that adding a casino to the property — which lies just down MacArthur Causeway from Genting Group’s Resorts World Miami property — isn’t yet part of plans. “I don’t think there’s any intentions at the moment” to add a gambling component, he said. “There’s no authorization for gambling.” However, he said, “people will talk to [developer] Mr. [Mehmet] Bayraktar before this issue develops.”

Recently unveiled plans for Genting Group‘s $3 billion-plus resort include a casino, although it’s not yet legal. The developer hopes to persuade Florida lawmakers to change that, pushing for a gaming license in the next legislative session. Resorts World Miami is also spurring talk of other area destination casinos, which brought Commissioner Spence-Jones to ask if Flagstone might add a casino to its plans. If Genting gets lawmakers’ go ahead to add a casino, “that land [on Watson Island] itself becomes extremely valuable,” Ms. Spence-Jones said. If Flagstone does try to add a casino to plans, it — unlike the Genting plan — would be subject to commission approval.

Flagstone’s Island Gardens is a luxury hotel, retail and mega-yacht complex planned for City of Miami-owned land on Watson Island. The project was approved by voters in 2001. Miami commissioners approved a 75-lease of the property to Flagstone the same year and a major use special permit in 2004. Since then, Flagstone has faced lawsuits and lost lenders and hotel operators, but hasn’t broken ground. Commissioners agreed to new terms and a construction timeline in September 2010. The project then awaited a new state approval, which was granted in August. Because Flagstone’s Island Gardens project sits on land given to Miami by the state in 1949 for public use, any commercial development requires state approval. A previous waiver was approved in 2004, but a new OK was needed because the development agreement has changed significantly since then. The commission’s decision last week authorized the city manager to execute the state waiver allowing for commercial development on the property. Commissioner Marc Sarnoff spoke in favor of the project, citing the potential economic impact of having a mega-yacht facility in Miami. “I think you can recreate a maritime industry that existed here… and has left and gone to Broward,” Mr. Sarnoff said. “I think we could become a major player again in that facility.” Mr. Sarnoff added that jobs created for workers on mega yachts would likely pay well and that mega-yacht owners often buy nearby properties.

Ms. Spence-Jones said she wanted to ensure that the project’s progress is monitored. “I don’t want to find myself ever again in a situation like these mega deals and the things that we support…,” she said, “then we have to run people down to find out if they actually lived up to their promise.” Madeline Valdes, Miami’s director of public facilities, said that as part of the development agreement Flagstone would pay for a consultant to monitor the project. Ms. Spence-Jones also brought up what she said is the most important element to her: job creation. “I love the mega projects,” she said. “I think they’re beautiful, I think they’re great, but the reality is if they’re not benefiting their communities, we’re doing a disservice.” Mr. May said that of the 3,000 construction jobs that are to be created, Flagstone has committed to hiring 40% local workers in certain areas, including plumbing, electrical and landscaping. Also playing a role in the commission’s decision was the threat of possible legal action if it didn’t allow the project to move forward after approving a development agreement. Assistant City Attorney Robin Jones Jackson told commissioners that if Flagstone reasonably complied with its obligations — including a $300,000 payment to the city that day — and approval of the state waiver, the city should act in good faith and not block the project. Mr. Sarnoff, who is an attorney, also warned fellow commissioners of the “huge damages” that Flagstone could win in court if it took legal action and won. “The last thing you want to do is put them in a position to sue us.”



MiamiThe developer of Brickell Key is moving ahead on plans for a mixed-use development, which aims to create an urban retail destination.

New York City has Rockefeller Center. San Francisco boasts the Embarcadero Center. Now, Miami could have its version of a vibrant urban gathering place called Brickell CitiCentre.

The developer of Brickell Key has unveiled its long-awaited plans for a nearly $700 million urban shopping and mixed-use development spread over 9.1 acres just west of Brickell Avenue and south of the Miami River.

The project would create 1,700 jobs during construction and more than double that once completed.

Swire Properties will take the first steps this week toward a fast-track government approval process necessary for the 4.6 million-square-foot project that aims to create a retail destination unseen before in Miami’s urban core. The project – designed by Miami-based Arquitectonica – would also include restaurants, a hotel, office towers and apartments or condominiums, spread over a four-block area connected by bridges and covered walkways.

“We really see Miami as about to take the next and final step to become a true urban city, but retail is the missing link,” said Stephen Owens, president of Swire Properties. “Retail creates the pedestrian experience. In some ways what we’re trying to create is the Main Street like you have in most urban cities. Our goal is to really become the anchor for the urban area.”

Construction could begin by the end of 2011. Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado is a major advocate for the project.

It’s the first development of this magnitude submitted under Miami 21, the new zoning code designed to encourage more pedestrian-activity through mixed-use development.

That vision is similar to what Swire, the Miami-based development arm of a Hong Kong conglomerate, has had in the works for more than two years. Swire acquired the first parcels of undeveloped land for Brickell CitiCentre in October 2008, just after the nation’s financial markets collapsed amid the worst recession in decades and land prices started to drop.

Conservative by nature, Swire Properties chose to sit out much of Miami’s real-estate boom passing on high-profile sites because it didn’t want to get into a bidding war. The company prefers to buy land in the down market and launch new development just in the early stages of a recovery.

“When markets are over heated we tend to not move very fast because the probability of oversupply is very likely,” Owens said. “One of the keys to building now is to be in position when the markets are robust again. If one waits until the obvious indicators are there, then you have a lot more competitors out there and construction costs increase dramatically.”

Swire’s ambitious plans call for trying to obtain final approval from the Miami City Commission in July and beginning construction by the end of this year or early 2012. The bulk of the project would be built over the course of four years, with a second phase featuring the majority of the office space and a second residential tower scheduled for a later date based on market demand.

While some question the ambitious timetable, they believe Swire is the type of developer that can make it happen.

“The size of this development has got to be over a 10-year program or more,” said Michael Cannon, a local real estate industry analyst. “If anyone has the capital to do it, they do. They have patient capital. They apparently have made a commitment to Miami.”

Swire would likely fund the development itself, if it doesn’t secure traditional financing, Owens said.

MiamiBrickell CitiCentre is expected to generate $1 billion in overall economic impact, according to a study by Miami Economic Associates. The benefits would include 1,700 construction jobs for each of the four years of construction, plus 3,800 jobs upon the project’s completion.

The city of Miami would receive $5.4 million in annual taxes from Brickell CitiCentre, while Miami-Dade County would get another $9.6 million in annual taxes.

“This is a huge complex that will bring to Brickell Avenue, downtown Miami and East Little Havana an energy it has never, ever seen before,” said Regalado, who will take the nontraditional step of presenting a developer’s project to the City Commission. “I think it needs to carry the clout of the office of the mayor to send a message that this is a huge project for the city of Miami.”

The last major project of this magnitude was Midtown Miami, but that development is being built in phases and spread out over a larger area. Midtown also includes more residential towers and big-box retail.

Brickell CitiCentre is a natural next step for Swire Properties, which bought the deserted Claughton Island in 1980 and turned it into Brickell Key, a secluded haven of high-end condominiums, office buildings, a Mandarin Oriental hotel and a smattering of retail shops and restaurants. With only one undeveloped parcel left on Brickell Key adjacent to the Mandarin Oriental, Swire set its sites years ago on finding a new venture in the heart of the Brickell Financial District.

Swire paid $41 million in an all-cash deal for the first two undeveloped parcels that form the core for Brickell CitiCentre, straddling South Miami Avenue. The land had been on the market during the boom for as much as $110 million and the original plans for a different version of a mixed-used project with the same name were designed by a group headed by J. Kevin Reilly. But Swire acquired the property after the lender iStar Financial took the property back from Reilly.

The final parcels – the Brickell Tennis Center and the Eastern National Bank headquarters – were acquired earlier this year for a total cost of about $27 million. The additional acreage was necessary to get the site over the nine-acre threshold needed to apply for a special area plan under the terms of Miami 21.

Brickell CitiCentre is modeled after similar projects that Swire’s parent company has developed in Asia, including Pacific Place in Hong Kong. The first phase would include about 500,000-square feet of retail shops and restaurants, a 290-room four-star hotel, two eight-story office towers and a residential tower with about 270 units.

The retail would likely be anchored by at least one department store, plus a mix of luxury and moderate retailers focusing on fashion brands and home furnishings, including national and international brands, Owens said. The project would not contain big-box retailers like Target or Best Buy.

Retail industry experts agree that the dense urban area has enough consumers to support the project. The challenge will be luring retailers away from other shopping centers or persuading them to open an another store.

“It’s certainly going to give Merrick Park a run for its money, as well as Dadeland,” said Cynthia Cohen, president of Strategic Mindshare, a retail consultant with a Miami office.

The key, she said, would be the name-brand anchor stores.

“If you’re going to steal retailers from Dadeland or Merrick Park, you’ve got to make them a better deal. Those better deals have a financial impact on your pocket. They have to be willing to play this out for the long term.”

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South BeachIf you are dreaming of living in Florida, being a part of the craziness of the South Beach life, we have good news for you. You do not need to spend more than $1M to be a part of a South Beach lifestyle/living. Own your private condo and discover what South Beach has to offer.

You do not need to look any further, we have done the job for you. We found three different types of condos available on South Beach and for an affordable price. What is your choice?


L o f t Style

With over 2,000 sq. ft. (325m2) of interior space, 10′ ceilings & floor-to-ceiling-hurricane-glass-walls loft # 306 is the largest loft available at the Montclair South Beach Condo. Actually, it is one of the largest offered in all of South Beach. Located only one block North of Lincoln Road with easy access to the best shopping, restaurants and nightlife South Beach has to offer, the location of the Montclair could not be better. 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms for $859,000. Check out the virtual tour: Montclair South Beach Condo # 306.

Montclair South Beach Condo

DeSiGnEr Style

Live directly on the world famous Ocean Drive at Casa Grande Miami Beach Condo. As you enter unit # 507 here is a short list of what you will see around you: Swarovski Crystal Chandelier, Binova Italian kitchen, frameless Lualdi Italian doors, Maxter and Rugiano leather furniture… no expenses spared in this Ocean Drive designer condo. 2 bedrooms, 2 baths all in black and white. The price for this unit is $900,000. Check out the virtual tour: Casa Grande South Beach Condo # 507.

Casa Grande South Beach condo

Boutique Style

If you prefer to live in a boutique building rather than in a high-rise, the Sundance South Beach Condo is the right choice. This fully loaded designer loft #203 just might be the most well-appointed loft in South Beach. Located in the South of Fifth, this nearly 1,700 sq. ft. condo has two patios and two covered parking spaces. 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms for $749,000. Check out the virtual tour: Sundance South Beach Condo # 203.

Sundance South Beach Condo

If you have any questions concerning the below mentioned South Beach condos, Bill and Bryan are just a call away to help you. Phone up: 305-791-2349. You can also visit

One Ball Harbour Miami Beach CondoThe address at this Miami Beach condo is one of Miami’s most coveted. Few Condominiums in Miami Beach exude the exclusivity of the One Bal Harbour and even fewer for this price. With One Bal Harbour’s tower designed by award-winning architects Nichols, Brosch, Sandoval and Associates and interior designers: Culpepper, McAuliffe and Meaders, One Bal Harbour strikes a stunning presence inside and out.

At One Bal Harbour Miami Beach Condo, all the amenities of contemporary living are at your fingertips. Around-the-clock concierge service, security and valet; multiple pools; social, card and billiard rooms; a movie theater; high end spa; a world class restaurant; a state-of-the-art fitness center…you can get tired trying to point out all of them as this is only a portion of the One Bal Harbour’s features! You can also dine at the famous Mister Collins restaurant while enjoying break taking ocean views.

One Bal Harbour Miami Beach CondoWe also need to mention its ultimate location, the Bal Harbour address. Only a few of Miami’s most privileged can boast that they have a property in Bal Harbour. With an enclave of famous restaurants, historic theatres, boutiques, white sand beaches, and the world’s finest retailers (Neiman Marcus, Prada, and Fendi to name a few) at the one and only Bal Harbour Shops.

Can you ask for more? We doubt it, but you can definitely ask us for more information!

Call the Bill and Bryan Team to learn more or to arrange a private showing 305-791-2349. For more information about the One Bal Harbour click here: Also visit the website: if you are interested in other Miami Beach condos or South Beach real estate.

One Bal Harbour Miami Beach CondoOne Bal Harbour Miami Beach Condo

One Bal Harbour Miami Beach Condo

Arquitectonica-designed Destination Resort to create tens of thousands of jobs, draw millions of tourists from around the world, and anchor new three-mile Baywalk along downtown Miami waterfront.

Miami, FL – September 14, 2011 – One of the post prized pieces of waterfront land in Florida will soon come alive with Resorts World Miami, a Destination Resort featuring iconic skyscrapers sporting designs inspired by a coral reef and serving as the centerpiece of a new three-mile Baywalk that will activate the city’s waterfront. Resorts World Miami, which represents a $3 billion investment by Genting Group, comprises approximately 10 million square feet of mixed-use development, making it one of the largest development projects in Florida history.

Resorts World Miami

“Resorts World Miami will accelerate Florida’s evolution as a global destination at the crossroads of the Americas,” said Mr. KT Lim, Chairman and Chief Executive of Genting.

“Most importantly, Resorts World Miami will boost confidence in Florida’s economy, creating 15,000 direct and indirect construction jobs and 30,000 permanent positions on an ongoing basis, attracting more inbound investment, and substantially increasing the tax base for the city, county and state.”

Rising from 13.9 acres of bayfront land currently housing the Miami Herald Media Company, Resorts World Miami is located in the heart of the City of Miami, midway between Miami International Airport and Miami Beach.

Resorts World Miami

“Resorts World Miami introduces a new vocabulary of architecture to Florida, one that is inspired by the ocean and Florida’s coral reefs,” said Bernardo Fort-Brescia, Co-Founder and Principal of Arquitectonica, the world-renown architecture firm based in Miami. “At Resorts World Miami, building designs echo familiar forms that are part of our identity, including tropical fish and seashells. When you describe Miami and Florida, you inevitably come back to the water. We have captured that relationship with Resorts World Miami’s design.”

Resorts World Miami includes a series of four hotels with a total of 5,200 rooms and two residential towers featuring 1,000 units. The towers take on sculptural forms that change from every perspective. Each building is designed with outside balconies adorned with LED-lit exteriors, creating a jewel-like effect that will illuminate the Miami skyline each night. The Destination Resort will include a super-luxury hotel, a contemporary hotel, a convention hotel, and a family hotel, offering a lodging option for each segment of the market.

The towers sit atop an 8-story podium where guests can immerse themselves in a double-story, 250,000 square foot luxury retail galleria; more than 50 restaurants, lounges, bars and nightclubs; a high-tech multimedia entertainment area showcasing the music and culture of Florida and South America; and 700,000 square feet of convention and meeting space which includes a 200,000 square foot column-free ballroom, the largest in the United States. A casino will be included if Florida’s legislature and governor approve Destination Resort legislation.

Resorts World Miami

Each level of Resorts World Miami is designed with outdoor terraces offering spectacular unobstructed views of Biscayne Bay, downtown Miami and Miami Beach. The podium’s rooftop features a 3.6 acre outdoor lagoon – a size equivalent to 12 Olympic-size swimming pools – and natural sand beaches that will enable guests to swim from Biscayne Boulevard to the edge of Biscayne Bay, a distance of more than 1,000 feet. Each hotel will also have a private swimming pool.

Resorts World Miami will be the highlight of a three-mile Baywalk beginning at the Miami River and running north to Margaret Pace Park. The Baywalk will link Bayfront Park, Bayside Market Place, American Airlines Arena, Museum Park, the Miami Art Museum currently under construction, the new Miami Science Museum currently under design, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and the Omni Center. All will be connected by new public spaces and pedestrian, jogging, and cycling paths that will activate this stretch of partially completed Miami waterfront.

Resorts World Miami has been designed – and will be constructed – in accordance with all applicable zoning codes and regulations, including Miami 21, the City of Miami’s comprehensive zoning code. The project has been conceived with an emphasis on sustainability and LEED-certified solutions, including three levels of below-grade parking.

Miami World Resort

The Genting Group has a 25-year track record of investing in the United States. Its history of investment in Florida started 12 years ago when it acquired Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and spent more than $5 billion building eight new ships and transforming NCL into the youngest and most innovative cruise line. The Genting Group currently owns 50% of NCL.

Genting also partnered with Florida-based Universal Studios to build and open the $5.5 billion Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore last year, which includes a Universal Studios theme park. Within a year, Resorts World Sentosa became the world’s most successful Destination Resort.

“Resorts World Miami is a continuation of the Genting Group’s long history of investing in Florida and working with the state’s business community. We are fully committed to develop Resorts World Miami to maximize the impact of this Destination Resort on Florida’s economy. Our goal is to create Resorts World Miami as the most successful Destination Resort in the Americas,” added Chairman Lim.

Icon South Beach CondoThe first impression when you enter a condo is important, isn’t? It sets your mood for the rest of the day. What’s the primary thing you see when you go in a building? Its lobby!

The lobby of the Icon South Beach Condo is expressive and impressive as the Icon building itself. The Icon Condo’s lobby was designed by the French designer Philippe Starck and it symbolizes the uniqueness of Miami Beach. Whenever you are on South Beach, stop at the Icon Condo, take a moment and look around you. Become a resident as the Icon Condo has all the priceless little pleasures that will not cost you a cent. Sea-breezes, sunrises, sunsets, moonlight walks… Remember “where you live is who you are”.

Take a moment to watch the gallery of the beautiful lobby of the Icon South Beach condo, click on the pictures to see the enlarged version.

Call the Bill and Bryan Team to arrange a showing 305-791-2349. For more information about the Icon South Beach Condo or other Miami Beach condos visit:
Icon South Beach Condo
Icon South Beach Condo

Icon South Beach Condo

Icon South Beach Condo

Icon South Beach Condo

Keep Your Taxes in Check

September 13, 2011

TaxNon-Homestead Property 10% Annual Assessment Limitation

Understanding the ever changing tax code can be daunting. In years passed, property tax rates on non-homesteaded Miami real estate could fluctuate wildly. Today, non-homesteaded property assessments may increase no more than 10% of the “just value” of the property in the prior year.  Beginning in 2009, owners of real estate subject to the limitation must apply with the county property appraiser no later than March 1 of each year. The owner’s failure to apply will result in the loss of the assessment limitation. This would be a very costly omission on the part of the property owners, and a care should be taken that this deadline is not missed.