When Avra Jain bought the Vagabond Hotel in Miami’s MiMo district two years ago, she couldn’t capture the interest of traditional real estate investors.

Comparable rates along Biscayne Boulevard were $60 a night — or $20 an hour, she quipped. Now, after redeveloping the property into a boutique hotel with financial backing from friends and family, off-season rates stand at $159 a night, and the coming season will command $229 to $259 per night.

Changes taking place in the commercial real estate market in neighborhoods like MiMo and Wynwood are spurring widespread revitalization in Miami and creating other newly emerging areas, panelists said Friday at the Miami Association of Realtors’ RCA Super Conference, held at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.

In MiMo, Jain realized that dilapidated motels were hurting the area, so she purchased seven motels along the Biscayne Boulevard strip and shut them down. “And that is when the neighborhood started to change,” she said during a panel, “Emerging Miami: Miami River, Lemon City & Little River.”

Much more change is on the horizon. In a year, the MiMo District “will be lit up with neon and restaurants and will surprise everybody,” she told more than 100 conference attendees. Retail rents are rising rapidly, and now stand at about $50 to $70 per square foot, and $45 for second floor office space, Jain said.

Meanwhile, as Miami’s once gritty Wynwood transforms and rents there rise as well, art galleries, local businesses and creative types are being priced out, and are moving to more affordable and newly emerging — yet historic — areas like Little River and Lemon City, the panelists said. That’s where Thomas Conway’s MADE, a new co-working space for creative entrepreneurs, has recently opened. Creating a sense of place is key, the panelists said.

“We’re basically being the stewards of revitalizing these neighborhoods,” said Tony Cho, founder and CEO of Metro 1.

With investors redeveloping property, Wynwood has quickly become a thriving neighborhood, with a curated collection of new shops, restaurants, bars and breweries that attract a pedestrian crowd at all hours of the night. “It’s remarkable,” Cho said of the transformation. “It has exceeded my original expectations.”

Along with that, commercial rents are now as high as $80 per square foot on Northwest Second Avenue in Wynwood — compared to $10 per square foot 10 years ago, Cho said. In fact, Starbucks and other national retailers are starting to look into the area. That poses a challenge to retaining the neighborhood feel, the panelists said.

“People are fearful that Wynwood will turn into Lincoln Road,” Cho said.

The speed of transformation is accelerating, and with so much commercial activity in Miami, Jain said she does not worry about a downturn similar to what South Florida experienced in the last cycle.

“I don’t think Miami necessarily has to be roller coaster any more,” Jain said, citing commercial markets in Miami that are still underserved and the continuing demand for boutique hotels. “I’m starting to see it differently.”


Source: The Real Deal

Roosters crow in trash-strewn lots. Construction crews tear down crumbling foreclosed homes. The din of backhoes, of leaf-blowers, of planes flying overhead never seems to stop.

But in the roughly five-square-mile Allapattah neighborhood of Miami, one of the city’s oldest, home values are rising at a faster clip than the multimillion dollar mansions of Miami Beach.

A house on Northwest 25th Ave in the Allapattah neighborhood of central Miami. Developers and investors are buying properties there because it's close to downtown and on the edge of Wynwood. CHARLES TRAINOR JR MIAMI HERALD STAFF

A house on Northwest 25th Ave in the Allapattah neighborhood of central Miami. Developers and investors are buying properties there because it’s close to downtown and on the edge of Wynwood. CHARLES TRAINOR JR MIAMI HERALD STAFF

In the last year, home values in this working-class community are up nearly 24 percent, according to data collected by online real estate company Zillow. The Miami-Dade County average is 8.6 percent.

The reason for the surprising surge?

A house on Northwest 25th Ave in the Allapattah neighborhood of central Miami. Developers and investors are buying properties there because it's close to downtown and on the edge of Wynwood. CHARLES TRAINOR JR MIAMI HERALD STAFF

A house on Northwest 25th Ave in the Allapattah neighborhood of central Miami. Developers and investors are buying properties there because it’s close to downtown and on the edge of Wynwood. CHARLES TRAINOR JR MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Rock-bottom prices and Allapattah’s proximity to hot-spots like the Design District, Wynwood, the Miami River and the Health District around Jackson Memorial Hospital have investors salivating over the area’s low-end housing stock — and buying up everything they can.

The median value for a single-family home in the area stood at $123,000 in June 2015, the lowest in Miami after Liberty City, Zillow found. For condos and townhomes, values were $103,000.

“There’s so much speculation among investors because the prices are so low,” said Alex Ruiz, a real estate agent at the Keyes Company who grew up in the area in the 1960s and ’70s.

“It was a very booming area when my family was there,” Ruiz said. “There were movie theaters and stores and restaurants all along 36th Street and a Coca Cola Bottling company plant.”

Allapattah, sometimes called Little Santo Domingo because of its large Dominican community, has transformed since its heyday decades ago. Today, most people who live here are low-income renters. Many rely on Section 8 vouchers.

Allapattah9A growing number of homes, all on small lots close together, are being converted for multi-family use. There are few stores beyond pawn shops, car mechanics, corner stores and bare-bones restaurants. Businesses are mainly industrial, with boat yards and drydocks lining the Miami River. Crime is a problem. A shooting left a man dead over a recent weekend.

But Allapattah may again be on the cusp of change.

Investors are snapping up properties with cash, renting them out and waiting for a boom they expect to spread west from the shops and galleries of Midtown and north from the high-rises of the Miami River. It’s hard to find better deals in Miami.

“We can buy a house for $60,000, tear it down for $10,000 and build a duplex for $200,000,” said Jorge Artiles, a realtor and home flipper who works in the neighborhood with bank-owned properties. “Then we can rent it out to two families for $1,700 per month. We are putting the money to work and then we can sell for a profit because the market keeps going up.”

Local realtor and house flipper Jorge Artiles stands outside a property he and business partners recently purchased in Allapattah. CHARLES TRAINOR JR MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Local realtor and house flipper Jorge Artiles stands outside a property he and business partners recently purchased in Allapattah. CHARLES TRAINOR JR MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Artiles said investors are banking on the expectation that in the next 10 to 15 years, Allapattah will be transformed. The area is close to expressways, the airport, downtown and Miami Beach. Along the north bank of the Miami River, young professionals are renting out apartments and condos because of easy access to jobs downtown, Artiles said.

“We’re trying to brand this area as the Miami River District,” Artiles said. “That’s what it is on the south side of the river. But if I say Allapattah, I cannot charge $2,400 for a unit.”

One sign of the area’s potential for developers: A major mixed-use project called River Landing is planned for the river’s north bank near the Health District, although it may be slowed by creditors.

Realtors are seeing interest along Allapattah’s eastern edge, too.

“It’s right next to the Design District and it’s very affordable,” said Paola Chapman, a real estate agent who just took her first Allapattah listing because of rising values.

For homeowners in the area, change cuts both ways. Locals welcome rising real estate values, said Albena Sumner, president of the Allapatah Homeowners’ Association and a resident since 1965. But transient renters bring a different feel to the community.

“Where you used to have a family owning a home, now you’re renting out a duplex,” Sumner said. “It’s gentrification. It’s what happens in poor communities. It happened in Wynwood. Now it’s happening here.”

Background (Source – Zillow):

  • A working-class, industrial neighborhood where home values are rising faster than any other part of Miami or Miami Beach, driven by investors and flippers. The name Allapattah comes from the Seminole word for “alligator.” Its boundaries are State Road 112 and the Miami River to the north and south, and Interstate 95 and Northwest 27th Avenue on the east and west. Allapattah covers several ZIP codes, including 33136, 33125, 33127 and 33142. Crime statistics and Florida Department of Education school ratings vary by location but are generally poor.
  • Median single-family home values: $123,000 in June, up 29 percent since June 2014.
  • Median condo/townhome values: $103,000 in June, up 23 percent since June 2014.


Source: Miami Herald

It’s no secret that Miami has become one of the world’s most attractive markets for international investors.

South Americans in particular have had a heavy influence in local real estate as one of the main demographics snapping up properties throughout South Florida.

But data from CBRE, a commercial brokerage that tracks such international trends, indicates that one region of the world is poised to take a much larger role in South Florida’s real estate game and in the United States as a whole: the Middle East.

Miami Beach EDITION hotel

Miami Beach EDITION hotel

So far, buyers from the Middle East have stuck to high-profile properties in Miami. This was made evident in February with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority’s acquisition of the Miami Beach EDITION hotel for an incredible $230 million. That sale accounted for the majority of the $280 million Middle Easterners have sunk into South Florida real estate during the first half of this year, according to CBRE data.

Plot on Indian Creek Island — the highest price ever recorded for vacant land in the neighborhood

Plot on Indian Creek Island — highest price ever recorded for vacant land in the neighborhood

Also in February, a corporate entity linked to Saudi Royalty paid $23 million for a plot on Indian Creek Island — the highest price ever recorded for vacant land in the neighborhood.

St. Regis Bal Harbour hotel

St. Regis Bal Harbour hotel

Compared to last year, buyers from the Middle East have spent $37 million more on Miami real estate, CBRE data shows. The previous year saw Al Faisal Holding, a private company based out of Qatar, pay $213 million for the St. Regis Bal Harbour hotel, among other smaller transactions. However, in the context of the region’s historically large purchases, that increase does not necessarily translate to a large uptick in activity.

The evidence of this emerging trend instead comes from looking at the huge amount of money that the Middle East is pouring into U.S. real estate.

For the first half of 2015, the region spent $2.7 billion on real estate in the Americas, according to CBRE. That’s a significant chunk of the $11.8 billion total that investors from the Middle East have spent on global real estate during that time period, and CBRE expects that number to grow by another $2.4 billion by the end of the year. Most of that money comes from sovereign wealth funds.

“There’s no question that Miami has arrived as a primary market for investors worldwide, in the same league with other U.S. cities like New York, San Francisco and D.C., as this Middle East investment report suggests,” Quinn Eddins, CBRE’s director of research and analysis for Florida, said in a statement.

“The amount of foreign investment in South Florida office, retail and industrial product during the first half of 2015 alone was over $775 million – more than that of all the previous two years combined. If we factored in apartment, hotel and land sales, that number jumps to more than $1.2 billion. A lot of capital is still coming from Canada, Europe and Latin America, but there’s definitely an uptick in Middle Eastern and Asian investment – it’s an exciting trend that we’re tracking closely.”

South Florida was the fourth hottest market in the U.S. for Middle Eastern investment during the first two quarters of 2015. It stands to supplant the third spot belonging to Washington, D.C., which saw only $1 million more in transactions from the region. Above D.C. is Atlanta with $338 million in purchases so far this year, and New York in the top spot with $1.1 billion, CBRE data shows.


Source: The Real Deal

An Asia Task Force organized by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce wants to organize Miami trips for Chinese journalists, investors and developers to help market the city to businesses and entrepreneurs from the Far East, The Real Deal has learned.

Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Asia Task Force

Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s Asia Task Force

At its first brainstorming session Friday morning, the eight-member task force laid out its objectives. Task force chairman Seth Gordon, a Miami publicist who represents Shanjie Li, the Chinese businessman whose company purchased a 2.39-acre site on Brickell Avenue for $74.7 million last year, said he wanted the Chamber to sponsor a delegation of reporters from China, who would then write articles about Miami’s business offerings. Gordon told other members he recently hosted a small contingent of eight Chinese journalists with assistance from Turnberry Associates founder Don Soffer and Carnival Cruise Lines.

“Don is very interested in working with the Chinese,” Gordon said. “He contributed a full week of rooms at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel and we flew them in with eight round trip business class tickets provided by Carnival.”

While the reporters were in Miami, Shareef Malnik, owner of the Forge, had them over for dinner at the storied restaurant’s wine room, Gordon said. In addition, developers Armando Codina and David Martin briefed the reporters on their respective projects.

“If we do it as a chamber project, we can do something more serious,” Gordon said.

Peng Lu, Florida International University’s associate provost of international programs, said the college would like to coordinate events and activities, including meetings with top business leaders in Miami, for a delegation of 22 Chinese business people visiting the city in mid-September.

“Two of them are billionaires,” Lu said. “One is a frozen food king in China who wants to buy fish products from Latin America. They are all extremely interested in seeing what business opportunities are here.”

In exchange, Lu said FIU can assist the chamber in organizing a business delegation trip to important cities in China. Andy Perez, CEO of South Miami-based EB5 Visa Funds, also suggested the chamber consider sponsoring classes on how to conduct business with the Chinese.

“One of the most important things you can do is educate the chamber’s membership,” Perez said. “It’s very important, down to how you hand over your business card.”

The task force is scheduled to meet again at the end of September.


Souce: The Real Deal

High net worth investors, families, and wealth managers from Latin America, seeking to diversify their portfolios, have been on a buying binge for office buildings and single-tenant retail properties throughout Miami-Dade County during the past 18 months, real estate advisors and developers specializing in the commercial sector told The Real Deal.

“Their appetite for well-positioned income-producing assets coupled with Miami’s prospering economy are translating into appreciating property values at a faster pace than previously anticipated,” said Alex Zylberglait, president of The Zylberglait Group at Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services in Miami. “It is fueling transaction velocity across most product types. And there is particular interest in single tenant spaces.”

Alex Zylberglait, president of The Zylberglait Group at Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services

Alex Zylberglait, president of The Zylberglait Group

Zylberglait told TRD that his firm brokered the sale of six commercial properties to buyers from Argentina, Brazil, El Salvador and Italy in the past 15 months.

For instance, Zlyberglait represented the seller of a 20,000-square-foot office building at 1250 Northwest 57th Avenue that is the headquarters of Summit Aerospace, an aircraft maintenance company that generates approximately $18 million in sales annually. The building was sold in March of last year for $2.6 million to a company called Algafin, which lists Giorgio Rubini, an Italian national, as its manager.

4995 Northwest 72nd Avenue

4995 Northwest 72nd Avenue

In another Zylberglait brokered transaction in July of last year, a Brazilian-owned entity called Kireland 41 Street Doral purchased an L.A. Fitness at 10055 Northwest 41st Street for $9.9 million. More recently, Zylberglait represented the previous owner of an office building anchored by a Wells Fargo Bank at 4995 Northwest 72nd Avenue. The property was bought for $5.3 million on March 25 by St. Helena LLC, a corporation listing Frech Hasbun and Freddie Moises of La Libertad, El Salvador, as managers.

Zylberglait’s firm is not the only commercial real estate brokerage seeing more interest from foreign buyers. Earlier this month, Fabio Faerman of Fortune International/FA Commercial told TRD he represented a foreign buyer that purchased a 2,259-square-foot Taco Bell at 1650 Northeast 163rd Street in North Miami Beach.

“International investors are looking for business opportunities like this,” Faerman said in a statement. “This is a prime location with a great franchise, Taco Bell.”

Camilo Lopez, president and managing director of The Solution Group

Camilo Lopez, president and managing director of The Solution Group

The company is tearing down the old structure to make way for a Mediterranean-style office building called OFIZZINA. It will have 54 units totaling 96,767 square feet of office space, as well as three retail units at ground level and 332 parking spaces, Lopez told TRD. Camilo Lopez, president and managing director of real estate development and management company The Solution Group, said demand from Latin American buyers for commercial office space is the reason his firm is building an office condo in Coral Gables. In August of last year, Solution paid $6.6 million for a one-story office building at 1200 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, built in 1972.

“In our research meetings, we realized the office market is the least served sector in Miami,” Lopez said. “It doesn’t even reach 5 percent of the overall real estate market. Because of the very limited offerings, we decided to build a luxurious office condo building.”

The project, including the land purchase and construction, is being financed privately through a capital fund made up of investors from Latin America and Europe, Lopez said. He said the office condo concept appeals to South Americans.

Claudio Stivelman, a principal partner in Aventura-based S2 Development

Claudio Stivelman, a principal partner in Aventura-based S2 Development

Claudio Stivelman, a principal partner in Aventura-based S2 Development, said foreign investors staking claims to commercial properties in South Florida have buying power that begins in the $3 million to $5 million range.

“These are people who have likely already bought a condo or two in Miami and are looking to upgrade their portfolio,” Stivelman told TRD. “They may want to buy a Walgreens, a strip mall  or a warehouse.”

In recent months, Stivelman said, his contacts in Brazil have been introducing him to investors who are not interested in condos.

“They are seeing the strength of the commercial side,” Stivelman said. “They see an opportunity to make big money.”

Zylberglait said the foreign buyers he’s dealt with view commercial properties as a safer bet.

“The income generated from the properties is a much more stable situation than buying a half-a-million dollar condo that doesn’t produce income unless you can rent it,” Zylberglat explained. “Buying a commercial asset not only produces a stronger yield. It also allows the buyers to leverage those investments.”


Source: The Real Deal

According to the Miami Association of Realtors’ Realtor Commercial Alliance, Miami’s commercial vacancy rates continue to rank among the lowest in Florida, leading to more local investment from global companies and investors.

Miami’s vacancy rates for office (14.9 percent), industrial (5.3 percent), retail (6.3 percent), and multifamily (4.4 percent) are the lowest among major cities in Florida, according to a May 2015 Commercial Outlook report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and Reis, Inc., a leading provider of commercial real estate market information. Each of Miami’s commercial sectors are performing better than the U.S. average, except for multifamily which is 0.1 percent lower. The national vacancy rates in May were 15.6 percent for office, 8.4 percent for industrial, 9.6 percent for retail and 4.3 percent for multifamily, according to NAR and Reis.

“One of the world’s top global cities, Miami has become a launching pad for new industries,” said Barbara Tria, the 2015 Miami Commercial Alliance President. “Technology companies and other businesses are moving to Miami largely because of the region’s top-tier cultural offerings, outdoor lifestyle, and affordability compared to other major cities around the globe.”

Miami Office Market

Miami’s 14.9 percent office vacancy rate in May ranks as the 21st lowest out of 82 major U.S. cities, according to the NAR and Reis report. New York leads the nation at 8.9 percent. Statewide, Miami’s office vacancy rate is performing better than Florida’s major cities. The Sunshine State’s other major metropolitans had the following rates: Fort Lauderdale (18.6 percent), Jacksonville (20.4 percent), Orlando (16.5), Palm Beach (16.5) and Tampa (19.7). The national average is 15.6.

South Florida’s growing, multilingual workforce is one reason for its low office vacancy rate. Miami-Dade County added 33,700 jobs across several sectors from April 2014 to April 2015, a 3.1 percent increase, according to job numbers released May 22. Miami had the third-largest job gain in Florida behind Orlando and Tampa. Miami’s unemployment rate from April 2014 to April 2015 decreased by 0.7 percentage points, to 6.2 percent from 6.9 percent.

Miami Industrial Market

Miami’s industrial vacancy rate of 5.3 percent is the third-lowest in the nation among the 82 major American cities studied by NAR and Reis. Only Orange County (Calif.) and Los Angeles performed better than Miami in the industrial sector in May, registering vacancy rates of 3.4 and 3.6 percent, respectively. Florida’s other major metropolitans had the following rates: Fort Lauderdale (8.2), Jacksonville (6.9), Orlando (10.3), Tampa/St. Petersburg (7.8), and Palm Beach (5.5). The national average is 8.4.

Miami International Airport and PortMiami are two of South Florida’s international trade successes. Miami International ranks as the top airport in the U.S. for international freight, and the ninth-best airport for foreign cargo in the world. In 2013, Miami International handled 2.1 million tons of total airfreight, of which 88 percent was international freight.

PortMiami is the top-ranked container cargo port in Florida with 900,000 TEUs handled each year. The port has an opportunity to expand its international business as it is deepening its channel from its current 42-foot depth to 50-52. When the deep dredge project is completed, PortMiami will be the only U.S. port south of Norfolk, Va. that can accommodate the new, mega cargo vessels that will pass through the expanded Panama Canal.

Miami Retail Market

Miami has the 15th lowest retail vacancy rate among U.S. major cities, according to the NAR and Reis report. Miami’s 6.3 percent rate is considerably lower than Florida’s other large metropolitans. Fort Lauderdale (9.3 percent), Jacksonville (12.9), Orlando (11.0), Palm Beach (9.5) and Tampa (10.6) are higher than Miami. The national average is 9.6.t”>

Miami’s tourism and multilingual employment base are just two reasons why major developers are bringing new retail ventures to the region. Earlier this year, the company that owns and runs the largest mall in America announced plans to build the nation’s largest shopping mall in northwestern Miami-Dade, a roughly 200-acre entertainment complex with submarines, a Legoland, sea lions and an artificial ski slope. American Dream Miami is projected to cost as much as $4 billion to build.

Brickell City Centre and The Mall at Miami World Center are two other significant Miami retail ventures. At Brickell City Centre, Hong Kong developer Swire Properties will deliver 500,000 square feet of retail space anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue by late 2016. The Mall at Miami Worldcenter, in the heart of downtown, will complete 765,000 square feet of restaurant, retail and entertainment space by 2017.

Miami Multifamily Market

The vacancy rate for Miami’s multifamily market is tied for 38th among 82 major U.S. metros, according to the NAR and Reis report. Miami’s 4.4 percent multifamily vacancy rate is the lowest in the state. Fort Lauderdale (5.2 percent), Jacksonville (7.0), Orlando (6.1), Palm Beach (5.6), and Tampa (5.0) all have higher rates. The national average is 4.3 percent.


Source: WPJ

A group of developers is preparing a plan for live/work loft units and a boat storage facility with a marina along the Miami River.

Chapman Ducote on a Delta Powerboats yacht.

Chapman Ducote on a Delta Powerboats yacht.

Chapman Ducote, the managing member of the development group, said he’s planning two buildings at 600 N.W. Seventh Ave. One would be a dry stack for boat storage attached to a high-end marina. The other building would have live/work lofts with high ceilings and a modern look, in addition to some retail, he said. While the size of the buildings aren’t finalized, Ducote said the mixed-use building would be eight to 12 stories tall.

“There is a beautiful neighborhood on the other side of the canal from us and we want to be in tune with what works in the neighborhood,” Ducote said. “We will remove a boat yard that isn’t very pretty and replace it with a nice modern building.”

Miami Boat Storage, an Aventura-based partnership between AL US Investments, Quillpoint Capital Investments and Ducote, recently bought the 47,152-square-foot lot for $3.65 million to save it from foreclosure. Ducote is also the president and CEO of Miami Beach-based credit card processing firm Merchant Services LTD, a professional racer on the American Le Mans series, and a major investor Delta Powerboats, a Swedish company that builds yachts fully out of carbon fiber.

“The live/work concept, particularly in other cities, is starting to work and get some legs behind it,” Ducote said. “You have residential and office in the same dwelling with a wall separating the two.”


Source: SFBJ

It’s up to developers and city officials to protect projects in Miami Beach from the threat of global sea level rise, architect Reinaldo Borges warned an audience gathered inside a conference room at the W South Beach on Thursday.

“Developers need to change their perspective,” Borges said. “They go in with a short-term investment mentality. That mindset has to change.”

Business leaders discuss sea level rise at the Miami Beach Community Resiliency Summit

Business leaders discuss sea level rise at the Miami Beach Community Resiliency Summit

Borges, a principal of Borges & Associates Architects, lamented that hotel projects his firm worked on like the Royal Palm Miami Beach and the Bentley Beach Hotel will be negatively impacted by sea level rise. Before new projects break ground, Borges suggested city officials find ways to provide developers with incentives if they build structures at a higher elevation.

The Miami-based architect was part of a panel of business community leaders at the Miami Beach Community Resiliency Summit Friday morning. Other speakers such as Wendy Kallergis, president and CEO of the Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association, and Gabriole Van Bryce, a member of the association’s sustainable hospitality council, talked about successful efforts to convince builders and owners to make their properties greener.

“We have really helped hotels reduce the impact of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Van Bryce said. “We want to further reduce the effects of greenhouse emissions by promoting a cool roof initiative to place local gardens on rooftops.”

Al Roker, host and weatherman for NBC’s “Today Show,” kicked off the summit by providing attendees with a few cold hard facts about climate change. “In the next 50 years, Miami’s high tide will be five feet higher,” Roker said. “At the city’s 100th anniversary concert last night, I told the crowd, ‘I hope you’re enjoying this now because where you are standing now will be underwater one day.’”  The popular morning show personality also said the mainstream media made a mistake by coining the term “global warming,” instead of using “climate change.”

Following his presentation, Roker told The Real Deal that developers, city officials, and residents have to work together to address the real threat of climate change. “Everybody should be concerned,” Roker said. “Are buildings ready? Is the infrastructure ready? Those are all real concerns condo owners, private property owners, businesses and everybody should be concerned about.”


Source: The Real Deal

Miami billionaire Jorge Perez says an end to a U.S. economic embargo on Cuba could help turn Havana into a mecca for real estate investment.

Jorge Perez oversees a global condo empire with $20 billion in assets as chairman of Related Group

Jorge Perez oversees a global condo empire with $20 billion in assets as chairman of Related Group

Perez, who was born in Argentina to Cuban parents, oversees a global condo empire with $20 billion in assets as chairman of Related Group.

The U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, with more than 25 companies and farm trade associations, was created yesterday in Washington to urge repeal of a 1996 law that placed permanent sanctions on Cuba after Fidel Castro seized power in a communist revolution.

In an interview at his Miami office, Perez said he favors a lifting of the embargo even after Cuban exile groups organized protests in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood last month to oppose President Barack Obama’s easing of restrictions in place for more than 50 years. “We should’ve opened our eyes a long time ago,” the 65- year-old said. “Opening up trade and the exchange of ideas would further the democratization of Cuba. Demand for second homes will be much bigger than the Bahamas, Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic.”

Obama’s move to end a half century-long estrangement with Cuba raises the prospect that American developers and hotel operators such as Marriott International Inc. and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. may be able to enter the tourism-rich market only 90 miles (145 kilometers) from Florida’s coast. They face a long road of navigating a region with unclear property laws and government control, making it probable they will proceed with caution, Perez said.

Joint Ventures

Tourist arrivals to Cuba rose almost 12 percent year-over- year in October to 187,311 visitors, according to the Cuban National Statistics Office. About 2.9 million tourists visited the island in 2013, almost a third of them from Canada. The second-most visited Caribbean country behind the Dominican Republic, Cuba has about 200 hotels with at least 35,000 hotel rooms, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.’s hotel group.

Perez said he visited the island two years ago, taking a charter flight after he wasn’t able to obtain a U.S. permit to fly his private plane. If an opening occurs, Perez said he’d be interested in creating joint ventures with Cuban companies to help cultivate an entrepreneurial class, teach people how to operate in a free market economy, and encourage them to keep income from the projects in Cuba to help the country grow. He’s also interested in getting involved in the restoration of historic Havana.

‘Condo King’

Perez crashed with the rest of real estate market in 2008. He regained his crown as Florida’s “Condo King” by building new projects with 50 percent deposits from foreign buyers. The Miami Art Museum was recast as the Perez Art Museum Miami before its opening last year after he pledged $35 million in cash and art.

Inside his office, Perez has a coffee mug stamped with Bill Clinton’s name and a photo of him standing next to Obama. Most of the campaign donations Perez and Related Group made in 2012 and 2014 elections went to campaigns of Democratic party members, according to OpenSecrets.org.

Obama last month used the limited flexibility allowed by the law to ease travel, trade and finance with Cuba. Still, the economic embargo, in place since the early 1960s, needs congressional action to remove the restraints. “I don’t think that Raul Castro is going to wake up tomorrow and call free, general elections,” he said. “The lifting of the embargo is going to be a fight, though not impossible. A lot of the farm states are clamoring to lift this thing so we can sell products to Cuba. You’re going to get a lot of economic pressure.”


Source: Financial Advisor Magazine

Amazon.com has signed a lease for a distribution and fulfillment center in Doral that will could create approximately 500 new jobs in the area.

The announcement corresponds with increases in manufacturing activity, international trade, and online shipping in industrial real estate in South Florida.

The 335,841-square-foot space leased by Amazon is in the Miami International Distribution Center, located at 1900 N.W. 132nd Place.

KTR Miami constructed the building last year.

The driving force behind securing a distribution center in Miami is that most customers in the region are demanding same-day delivery. Not only is it great to have Amazon in Miami, but the center could generate approximately 500 new jobs, said George Pino, Principal at State Street Realty.

“I don’t know what’s next, maybe delivery by drones? But it’s great to have them here,” Pino said.

And not only is the Seattle-based company moving into Doral, it is also opening up a store.

“They’re doing a huge distribution facility, [but] they’re also opening up a brick-and-mortar store,” said Ken Krasnow, managing director for CBRE South Florida. That location has not been announced, he added.

The increased use of technology and online sales is redefining the supply chain of e-commerce retailers, and more of these companies are looking to improve speed of delivery to remain competitive.

Because of that, the location of warehouses and distribution centers is likely to play a critical role, more than ever before in industrial real estate, Pino said. Amazon’s Doral lease is just one way to get packages on front stoops quickly.


Source: SFBJ