Apogee Beach Hollywood If the real estate bust was good for anything, it might be that it’s forcing developers to get more creative.
How creative?
Try high-rise condos with elevators for cars that allow you to park next to your living room — even if it’s on the 20th floor. Or a shopping center adorned with artwork, and a parking garage that lets you pull up to the retailer of your choice. Or try turning a former landfill into a mixed-use development. Those were among the plans discussed Friday during a developer roundtable organized by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez also stopped by.
To have developers gearing up for projects, “it means there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” Mayor Gimenez told about 100 people at the lunch hosted by law firm Bilzin Sumberg at 1450 Brickell Ave.
“It’s good to have these workshops because it means there’s work,” the mayor said, adding that his administration will streamline the permitting process. “We’ll do everything in our power to make it easier for you to build and create, and to continue to create this beautiful city.”
Developers on the panel talked about how much of today’s tight post-crash real estate market is about finding a niche, whether that’s offering unconventional luxuries to stand out to wealthy foreign buyers or simply scouting for previously overlooked sites to get the most land for the money.
Local developer Gil Dezer is getting creative with help from Germany-based Porsche Design Group in a project catering to wealthy buyers, particularly from abroad.
“We’ve come up with the car elevator,” Mr. Dezer said.
Porsche Design Tower, Sunny Isles BeachDezer Development and Porsche are partnering on the Porsche Design Tower, where elevators are to lift cars into the sky to high-rise condos, each with its own parking space in a glass-walled showroom.
The 57-foor, 132-unit tower is planned for Sunny Isles Beach. Mr. Dezer said the building would have the world’s first elevators with their own fire-suppression system. The units are expected to be priced up to several million dollars each.
“We’ll be charging for the parking space as part of the units, instead of giving it away free in a garage,” Mr. Dezer said. The high-rise parking “offers more security, which is important to a lot of our South American customers.”

Another project catering to well-heeled foreign buyers is the 49-unit Apogee Beach in Hollywood Beach. Developer Carlos Rosso, president of Related Condominium Division, said units are selling for about $1 million on average, with the company requiring buyers to pay at least 80% of the price before completion.
Mr. Rosso said about 95% of buyers at Apogee Beach come from Latin America.
“The more we go to feeder markets” outside the US, “the more we find that the cash is in South America,” he said, adding that Miami has the potential to become “the New York of Latin America.”

Apogee Beach Hollywood

Apogee Beach Hollywood
Brett Dill, president of the Swerdlow Group, described a somewhat different approach. Instead of buying relatively little land and building vertically, his group is planning a mixed-use development on a 180-acre site off Biscayne Boulevard in North Miami that was once a landfill.
Named Biscayne Landing, the project will feature about 800,000 square feet of retail and plenty of open space, and eventually could include up to 3,500 housing units, Mr. Dill said.
“We’re actually underutilizing the land, but there’s such an abundance of it,” he added. “There’s almost an unlimited capacity for development [there] in the next 10 years.”
Jeff Berkowitz, president of Berkowitz Development Group, said his firm has been waiting for several months for permits from the City of Coral Gables for the proposed Gables Station. The project would feature four levels of upscale retail — about 333,000 square feet in total — divided by a 1,450-space parking garage. The project also will feature nearly $1 million worth of art on public display, Mr. Berkowitz said.
“The garage will be done so cars can go to the front doors of retailers they like to visit,” he added. “This will be a trophy project. We hope to get the permits in the next two months. Then we hope to get enough leasing done that lenders will give us enough money to go forward.”


Source: http://www.miamitodaynews.com/news/120202/story5.shtml


South Beach condosDevelopers are preparing to launch the next wave of condo towers in downtown Miami, targeting international pre-construction buyers who can pay in cash.

The aftershocks of the last housing boom are still lingering, but developers are once again rushing to buy up land and erect new condo towers in downtown Miami’s burgeoning metropolis.

At least six new condo projects are slated to break ground in Miami in the coming years, with developers promising to announce several additional projects soon.

For skeptical housing analysts and weary homeowners, the sudden flurry of developer excitement in the midst of double-digit unemployment and stagnant home prices brings back not-so-distant memories of the last housing boom, and its epic bust.

This time is different, say the developers, who profess to have learned their lesson and are adopting financial models with far less risk than the 20-percent-deposit pre-sales that were popular during the last building boom.

“It’s time to think of where we’re going to be rather than where we are,” said Harvey Hernandez, whose Newgard Development Group recently announced plans for a new condo tower called Brickell House at 1300 Brickell Bay Dr. “It could not be a better moment for us to launch a project.”

So why the sudden rush to build again?

In addition to downtown Miami’s growingSouth Beach condos population and reduced construction costs, it’s a function of supply and demand. Developers point to an inventory of new condos that has, at least on paper, shrunk quickly over the past two years as cash buyers have bought thousands of units at discounted prices. South Florida condo resales are up 65 percent this year, and only about 2,000 of the 23,000 downtown condos built during the boom remain unsold.

The demand is coming, almost exclusively, from outside Miami. Buyers based in Latin America, Canada, Europe and the northeast United States have spent more than $3.8 billion on South Florida real estate this year, helping boost sales. International buyers account for about 90 percent of new condo sales, according to the Miami Association of Realtors.

Builders believe the surging international demand is strong enough to support new condo towers.

They are also using a more cash-focused financing model this time, hedging risk by requiring buyers to pay as much as 80 percent of the full price of a condo before construction is completed. Under the arrangement, buyers pay 20 percent at pre-construction, 20 percent at ground-breaking, and another 30 to 40 percent as the tower is topped off and approved for occupancy.

“The beauty of this business model is it separates the men from the boys,” said Craig Studnicky, principal of RelatedISG, a new development and sales partnership with Jorge Perez’s Related Group. “There are no speculators. The contracts are not assignable. These are people that are planning to live there or invest and use them as rentals.”

Whether developers’ line of thinking will prove profitable remains to be seen, as the proposed financing model — popular in Latin America — has never been tested on a large-scale basis in the United States.

William Hardin, a professor of real estate and finance at Florida International University, said some of the developers are simply testing the market. They might make splashy announcements and host lavish launch parties, but if the cash-buyers don’t materialize, the projects will never be built.

“You have a lot of posturing going on,” he said. “Everyone’s talking, but not every one of those plans are going to stick.”

Paramount Bay Miami condoThe Related Group is at the forefront of testing the cash-heavy , foreigner -reliant pre-sale model, having put many of the troubles of the real estate bust behind it. The firm’s grandest project, ICON Brickell, experienced the spectrum of ups and downs as the last cycle played out. Pre-construction buyers lined up to snag units when the three-tower project launched in 2006, and then walked away from their deposits en masse when the market tanked. Two of the towers eventually reverted back to lenders in a “friendly foreclosure,” but rapid sales this year helped Related and Fortune International Realty nearly sell out the project’s 1,800 units.

Now, Related is ready to build again. The firm has plans to begin constructing at least six new condo projects in the next year, and two of them have been officially announced.

One of those projects, called My Brickell, at 30 SE Sixth St., is set to break ground early next year, bringing 192 units to the market.

A little further to the south, the developer of long-postponed Sky Palace at Mary Brickell Village appears to be kickstarting plans to build the 35-story luxury tower above the Publix shopping plaza at 911 SW First Ave. Project spokesman Stylianos Vayanos said new announcements on the project could come within the next few months..

The Genting Group’s proposed Resorts World Miami, a $3 billion casino destination to be located at the site of The Miami Herald, would include two residential towers, with 1,000 condo units.

Other projects, including 23 Biscayne (601 NE 23rd St.) and Brickell CitiCentre (South Miami Avenue and SE Seventh Street) will add hundreds of new condo units to downtown. Outside of downtown, high-rises like Bellini Williams Island in Aventura (4100 Williams Island Blvd.) and Apogee Beach in Hollywood (4053 S. Surf Rd.) have already begun sales.

While international buyers have helped reduce the current inventory substantially, the supply of homes on paper could differ sharply from the true inventory. For example, many of the recently sold condos were purchased by bulk buyers and investors at deep discounts. When the market begins to rebound, those investors will likely put their properties back up for sale.

According to data from Miami Beach-based Condo Ratings Agency, only 19 percent of condo owners in downtown Miami claimed a homestead exemption last year, an indication that investors and second-home owners control the market. Banks also own thousands of foreclosure condos that are being held off the market as part of the region’s “shadow inventory.”

Paramount Bay Miami condoRecently relaunched projects like Vizcayne and Paramount Bay — the latter a 346-unit high-rise at 2020 N. Bayshore Dr. — do not show up as “developer inventory” because they were purchased in bulk out of distress. Still, those brand new units are being heavily marketed in the same Latin American cities where developers are pitching their new projects. As more developers announce new projects, competition for international buyers promises to be fierce.

That’s partially because the domestic market for new condos is basically non-existent. With less than 10 percent of downtown’s condo buyers based in Miami, the real estate market has never been quite as dependent on foreign buyers.

Recession-weary South Floridians have become a minority of the market and developers acknowledge that the 70 percent deposit financing model virtually shuts all locals out of the market.

I want a buyer that can pay cash — no financing,” said Hernandez, “Our buyers here [in South Florida], nobody has 70 percent. Nobody can afford that.”

But relying on the Latin American and international markets is certainly not risk-free.

A cooling off of international demand or a downturn in the Latin American economies in the next three years could severely hamper the progress of the proposed projects. The Brazilian real, which has occasionally declined against the dollar in the past few weeks, offers an example of potential volatility in Latin American economies.

And recent data show that the appetite of international buyers may be beginning to wane. Sales of new condos fell 33 percent in the third quarter compared to last year, according to the Bal Harbour-based consultancy Condo Vultures.

Still, international interest in Miami real estate remains strong, said Edgardo Defortuna, president of Fortune International Realty. With condo prices in São Paolo up more than 30 percent in the past year, relatively low-priced Miami still looks attractive to well-heeled international buyers looking for second homes.

“A condo in São Paolo that was selling for $500 a foot in 2005 is now probably trading for $1,500,” said Studnicky. “A condo in downtown Miami that was selling for $1,000 is now selling for closer to $500 a foot. It’s completely flipped.”

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/10/29/v-fullstory/2478900/condo-mania-20.html#ixzz1cNnLVOlM