• 57-story luxury condo tower in Edgewater advances

    The plan to build a luxury condo tower on the waterfront in Edgewater is moving ahead.

    Miami’s Urban Development Review Board has recommended approval of Elysee Miami, a 100-unit condo planned for a parcel at 700 NE 23rd St.

    The unusual design of the 57-story tower, with the size of the floors growing larger as it rises, requires permission for lesser setbacks above the eighth floor. Permission was also needed to permit parking into the second floor and beyond.

    The plan calls for providing about 229 parking spaces, 69 beyond the required number of 160, according to Iris Escarra, an attorney representing the developer.

    The extra parking will allow the developer to sell two spaces per residential unit, she told the board.

    Board members had asked the architects to address a staff comment about the project, that it was “disconnected to the pedestrian realm,” due in part to an elevated first floor and lobby.

    Representatives of the developer said there were challenges on the narrow site and FEMA requirements to protect against potential flooding.

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  • South Florida by the Numbers: 2015 Look Back Edition

    “South Florida by the numbers” is a web feature that catalogs the most notable, quirky and surprising real estate statistics.

    In the first month of 2015, my Realtor said to me…

    As we gear up for this week’s blowout South Florida by the Numbers holiday office party, we pause to reflect on another fascinating year in Miami and South Florida real estate. For this year-in-review, we’ll look back at the most critical and impactful number from each month’s collection of statistics — and even provide a few updates! The past twelve months have been a bit of a roller coaster ride, as general unbridled optimism has given way to cautious “brake pumping” among the area’s top developers and analysts — just in time for the Fed’s first rate hike in nearly a decade. If the past is any indication of the future, let’s toast to 2016 and gain some much-needed perspective with this “2015 Look Back” edition of South Florida By The Numbers.

    January – Year Ahead:

    6,400: Estimated number of new condominium units (east of I-95) expected to be completed in South Florida over the next twelve months. This represents a fivefold increase in the number of completed units delivered since the current cycle began in 2011. (5,400 of these units will be completed in Miami alone in 2015.) [Miami Herald]

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  • Going up: A look at major construction projects in Florida

    From office complexes to sports stadiums, airports, seaports, luxury condominiums and massive mixed-use developments, Florida is once again in the midst of a building boom.

    In the tri-county south Florida market alone, 117 residential towers with 11,527 units are under construction, according to a mid- October report from Peter Zalewski, a real estate consultant who tracks local trends on CraneSpotters.com.

    “The entire state of Florida is benefiting from accelerated population growth, strong job growth and recordbreaking tourism — a trifecta of economic conditions that is generating a great deal of optimism on the part of developers and those in commercial real estate,” says Mary Jo Eaton, president/Florida and Latin America at CBRE Group.

    “That, coupled with the availability of financing is creating an optimal environment for large development projects, with the only headwind being the rising cost of construction.”

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  • The Edge On Brickell Adds Bigger Restaurant To Plans

    The Edge On Brickell, a tall thin, condo project on the south bank of the Miami River, is moving forward with slightly modified plans.

    A recent application for utilities to the site now lists the restaurant size at 4,172-square-feet, up slightly from plans submitted last July. Rafael Aragonés, the developer, signed the new documents earlier this month.

    The number of condo units remains unchanged at 130. (more…)

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  • Lenders are Helping Foreign Investors Push Florida’s Real Estate Market to a New Peak

    Commercial real estate in Florida has heated up to the point that foreign investors and lenders are chasing deals that extend beyond their comfort zones bringing the market to a crest.

    U.S. partisan politics aside, foreigners from around the world are much more comfortable having their money here rather than in their homelands where political instability is much greater. South Florida has long been a favorite repository for cash moved from Latin America and South America. However, increased competition has pushed Miami-area prices so high that foreign investors are venturing north into central Florida and Tampa Bay in search of better values and cap rates.

    Foreign investors continue to prefer multifamily and hospitality properties because they are familiar with the business models and more comfortable with the tangibility of the asset.

    How they invest, however, is changing. The established model is to pay all cash for the first property and leverage the income gained for the second deal. Now, they are joining with others to buy an apartment building, convert it to a condominium, and sell the units to individuals in foreign countries who agree to leave them in the rental pool run by the management company. Why? Foreign investors are more comfortable owning units than shares in an LLC. These transactions are all cash transactions from the seller’s standpoint.

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  • Arnaud Karsenti: betting big on Miami real estate

    Timing is everything in real estate.

    When Arnaud Karsenti got serious about real estate investing, the South Florida market was in the tank, and buying and selling distressed property was the way to go.

    As the market revived, the longtime Miami resident changed tack to focus on new development. But either way, he says, the company’s strategy remains value investing — purchasing at a disciplined price with an eye to finding an opportunity to add value.

    Karsenti’s 13th Floor Investments has raised capital through real estate funds. And in recent times, many of his deals are jointly developed with Key International Realty. Those include 400 Sunny Isles and 1010 Brickell, both high-rise condominium projects, and The Harbour, two 26-story condo towers planned for North Miami Beach.

    In August, 13th Floor and Key International formed a partnership with the Related Group to acquire a 2.4-acre parcel at 4000 S. Ocean Dr. on the Intracoastal Waterway in Hollywood at a foreclosure auction. The group plans to develop a mixed-use condominium-hotel, with construction starting in the second half of next year.

    Karsenti sat down with Business Monday to talk about his business and then answered questions via email.

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  • Preconstruction condos emerge as SoFla darling

    Some six years after the South Florida real estate market began to collapse, preconstruction condo units emerged once again as the investment darling of the local market in 2013.

    The seemingly endless influx of foreign buyers from Latin America, Western Europe and Russia willing to hand over 50 percent deposits for preconstruction units has triggered a surge in proposed condo towers on the South Florida coast.

    In the last days of 2013, nearly 185 new condo towers with more than 24,800 units have already been proposed for sites east of I-95 in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, according to the preconstruction condo projects website CraneSpotters.com.

    Compare this to less than three years ago, when the Melo Group launched presales in the second quarter of 2011 for the first new condo tower to be developed in Greater Downtown Miami since the last real estate crash.

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  • SoFla real estate firms ramp up in 2013

    Encouraged by the resurgent South Florida market, many real estate firms expanded their presence in the region in 2013.

    Major companies like Avison Young, Douglas Elliman Florida and Related ISG International Realty ramped up in South Florida this year. Industry employment surged throughout the state. Year-over-year real estate sales, leasing and other industry jobs rose 4.4 percent to 169,500 in November 2013, according to the latest figures from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

    Other firms, like GMA Realty, set the stage for future expansion. The brokerage announced in October plans to add up to 75 real estate agents and mortgage brokers after opening a 3,000-square-foot office in Hollywood. GMA is shifting from a primary focus on distressed properties acquired by hedge funds to a broader array of real estate transactions.

    Below are some of the most notable company expansions, mergers and hirings in South Florida this year.

    Douglas Elliman Florida brings in new CEO

    Attorney and entrepreneur Jay Phillip Parker took over the helm of Douglas Elliman’s Florida operations during a year when the brokerage put a heavy emphasis on South Florida real estate.

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  • Brickell’s new construction boom a surprise to developers

    Real estate development’s rapid rebound in Brickell, with undertakings such as the $1.05 billion Brickell CityCentre and several high-profile condominium projects, has come as a pleasant surprise even to developers.

    Last week, the Rilea Group broke ground on the Bond, a 43-story, 328-unit condominium project at 1080 Brickell Avenue. Diego Ojeda, a vice president at Rilea, told Miami Today that “construction has come back really fast, a lot faster than everyone thought.”

    Ojeda credited Related’s MyBrickell, a 28-story, 192-unit condo project at 75 Sixth Street, with being the catalyst for the new wave of condo development. Related is also planning a three-tower development at 444 Brickell Avenue, as previously reported.

    Ojeda did point out, however, that construction costs were quickly rising, and cautioned developers to get moving on projects as soon as possible, according to Miami Today. [Miami Today] – Hiten Samtani

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  • Miami business leaders bullish on local real estate market: survey

    Almost 60 percent of Miami business leaders recently surveyed by law firm Bilzin Sumberg expect to see investment pour into real estate over the next 12 to 18 months. According to the New Miami Investment Survey, which was commissioned by Bilzin and surveyed 200 local executives, condominium homes (33 percent of repondents) and multi-family rentals (38 percent) are the likely targets. Almost 48 percent of respondents also believed that individual investors would serve as the primary source of investment over the next 12 to 18 months, and nearly 60 percent believed the financing market had improved since 2011. “At a time when other parts of the country are still struggling, Miami is seeing a record level of activity on the part of major international players placing confidence in our city as a business center and investment target,” said John Sumberg, Managing Partner of Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod. “This can be attributed to a number of factors, including the city’s gateway status; the affordability and availability of quality assets; attractive climate; and Miami’s strong brand perception around the world.” — Alexander Britell

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