The Flagler Street area of Downtown Miami’s Central Business District is likely to see over 30 million square feet in new development, a new study says.

Gridics analyzed development potential in the Downtown Historic Area based on Miami 21 zoning regulations and allowances, in a study prepared for the city to help plan for future infrastructure needs.

Over 26 million square feet in new development is likely along Flagler Street and to the areas north and south, based on zoning regulations and allowances. Another 17 historic sites could see 8 million square feet in additional development.

Gridics says the study will help save the city and utilities companies millions, by helping plan infrastructure needs.  Road improvement projects are already underway that could need to be torn up in the future to meet demand for new utilities without proper planning, the company said.


Source: The Next Miami

Americans continue to pour into Florida at a rapid rate, according to newly released Census data.

From July 1, 2017, to July 1, 2018 Florida had net domestic migration of 132,602. The level of domestic growth was higher than any other state in the U.S. Since 2010, Florida has gained a total of 1,160,387 people from net domestic migration

For overall numeric growth (including birth and deaths along with international migration), Florida ranked second with 322,513 new residents for the year. Only Texas ranked higher with 379,128 new residents.

New York was the biggest loser for the year with a net population loss of 48,510.

Overall, Florida now has a population of 21,299,325 – third highest in the U.S.


Source: The Next Miami

In 2018, 62% of all homes sold in top U.S. metropolitan markets sold below their original list price, according to EasyKnock.

As the year comes to an end, the home equity company is looking ahead to next year, predicting that 77% of current on-market listings will sell below original list prices in the first quarter of 2019.

“While there’s no denying that home prices have been steadily on the rise, list prices are clearly increasing above realistic levels, corroborated by the study’s findings that over 60% of homes sold well below their original list prices in 2018,” EasyKnock Economic Advisor Paul Habibi said.

According to EasyKnock’s analysis, half of the top 10 markets are located in the South. Miami is projected to have the highest rate of deals, coming in at a whopping 89%. Rounding out the top three are Houston and Chicago, with Houston seeing an average savings of 4.84% and an 84.2% rate of deals, while Chicago is expected to see 5.11% in savings and an 83.5% rate of deals.

The markets of Jacksonville, Florida (No. 4); New Orleans (No. 5); Hartford, Connecticut (No. 6); and St. Louis (No. 7) make up the middle of EasyKnock‘s predictions, with each market projected to see savings in the 5% range.

Pittsburgh, Tampa, and Cincinnati round out the bottom three on the company’s list. In these metros, discounts are expected to average more than 4.5%, which is higher than the national average of 4.01%.

“Average savings are on the rise in these markets. Given that the slowdown of home price increases is just beginning to take hold, we can expect home sellers to continue to set their original list prices on the higher end, which has the potential to result in greater deals for home buyers,” EasyKnock writes. “Particularly as we head into January, which has historically been one of the best months for deals, the combination of seasonality and the slowing market make the perfect recipe for the increased rate of deals predicted by the Knock Deals Forecast.”

EaskyKnock 2019 projections


Source: Housingwire

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Brickell City Centre won the initial green light to expand its footprint, creating two new mixed-use towers within a more than 100,000-square-foot annex to the $1.05 billion project.

The Miami City Commission just approved on first reading an amendment to Brickell City Centre’s special area plan that adds 15 properties owned by Colombian businessman Carlos Mattos, who is partnering with Brickell City Centre developer Swire Properties on the 104,287-square-foot expansion.

According to documents submitted to the city, Mattos and Swire want to build a 54-story building that would have 588 residential units, 84,009 square feet of commercial space and 832 parking spaces, as well as a 62-story tower with 384 residential units, 3,275 square feet of commercial space and 399 parking spaces. Among the sites is the former home of Tobacco Road, the famed watering hole that lasted 102 years before a wrecking ball claimed it in 2014.

Akerman attorney Neisen Kasdin, who represents Swire, told city commissioners the project will likely not break ground until the next cycle.

“It is market-dependent of course because there will be for-sale units there,” Kasdin said. “We are probably looking at a two-to-three-year period.”

The proposed Brickell City Centre annex would also have 11,718 square feet of civic space and the joint venture partners have agreed to build a connection to the Miami Riverwalk, add lighting to the South Miami Avenue Bridge. They will also donate $1 million to the city to be used for renovating single-family houses owned by low-income individuals.

The 15 properties run between Southwest 5th and 7th streets along South Miami Avenue and total just over 2 acres. In 2012, Mattos’ Tobacco Road Property Holdings LLC paid a combined $15.44 million for the majority of the assemblage which consists of nine adjacent properties at 11, 21, 31, 37, 45 and 55 Southwest Seventh Street and 622, 626 and 640 South Miami Avenue in 2012. Swire affiliate BCC Road Improvement LLC paid $4.7 million for the roughly 15,000-square-foot corner piece at 602 South Miami Avenue in 2014.

The expansion still requires final approval, which is often likely once it has been approved on first reading. Brickell City Centre’s first phase included two 390-unit condo towers, Reach and Rise; a 500,000-square-foot outdoor mall; an office building and a 40-story hotel, East, Miami.


Source: The Real Deal

An 82-story tower known as 2nd & 2nd was granted approval last week when Miami’s Office of Zoning granted waivers needed from the Miami 21 zoning code.

A notice issued on the city’s website confirmed the approval was issued November 26. Plans for the tower were first submitted in July 2017, making it 16 months of review.

If construction were to begin today, it would become the tallest building in Miami at its proposed 898-foot height. Brickell’s Panorama Tower is now the tallest at 868 feet, although several buildings are proposed above the 1,000-foot mark including Skyrise, where excavation is underway.

A Courtyard by Marriott hotel would need to be demolished to make way for the new 2nd & 2nd tower.

As reviewed by the UDRB earlier this year, the development would encompass more than 1.5 million square feet, including:

  • 266 hotel rooms
  • 637 residential units
  • 9,245 square feet of retail
  • 553 parking spaces

Convention Center Hotel Corp. of Yonkers, NY submitted the plans. The developer is a subsidiary of AVR Realty. NBWW is the architect.

Courtyard by Marriott to be demolished:



Source: The Next Miami

Over the past five years, major upgrades to quality of life in Aventura have set the stage for another decade of growth in residential and commercial properties, and a population increase as the quality of life rises again.

The city itself has committed to spending millions of dollars over the next five years on improvements. Nearly $3 million is going directly to local parks. Waterways Park, Veterans Park and Founders Park will undergo renovations which include new playground equipment, updated drainage, new turf and more.

Just over $4 million will be used for transportation improvements, such as road resurfacing, new pedestrian walkways and lighting, and improvements to improve traffic flow along major roadways. About 30-plus roads will be addressed, including Aventura Boulevard, Country Club Drive and more.

The city purchased 2 acres from the Gulfstream Park Racing Association last year on which to build the city’s first high school. The charter school of 800 students is scheduled to open in fall 2019 as Soffer Aventura High School.

Retail Expansion

A new three-story wing expansion has opened to the public at Aventura Mall. It adds restaurants, retail stores, art, an outdoor fountain and a 93-foot tall slide among other attractions (PHOTO CREDIT: MATIAS J. OCNER | File, Dec. 18, 2017)

Aventura Mall is creating a more immersive shopping experience. A three-level expansion wing facing the William Lehman Causeway has opened with a two-level Topshop, Zara and restaurants that include CVI.CHE 105 and Genuine Pizza, a casual restaurant by James Beard Award-winner Michael Schwartz. Another 11 stores and restaurants have opened or are coming, including International Smoke by Ayesha Curry and chef Michael Mina, Schutz Shoes, and Diveto Ristorante.

Topping them off is a 93-foot outdoor, spiral slide designed by Belgian artist Carsten Höller. The nine-story ride, which takes only 15 seconds, is free to anyone 50 inches or taller. The mall plans to add more interactive art installations in coming years.

Developer Seritage Growth Properties is building on the former Sears store site at Aventura Mall. The first phase will feature the ground-level development of 215,000 square feet of U.S. and international retailers, entertainment and dining in an open-air setting. An additional 100,000 square feet is planned on the 12.3 acre site that faces William Lehman Causeway and Biscayne Boulevard.

The rich and famous are taking note. NBA stars Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem celebrated the grand opening of the first 800 Degrees Woodfired Kitchen in Florida, in September. The 4,000-square-foot restaurant, which sits on 199th Street, seats 125 people and features a full bar.

Residential Construction

Just to the south, Turnberry Isle Miami kicked off a number of improvements late last year. Plans include a new 16-story luxury building, upgrades to the main lobby and resort facilities. The investment tops $175 million.

Aventura ParkSquare and Prive at Island Estates are bringing a city-within-a-city lifestyle to Aventura. Prive opened on a previously undeveloped island in January. The 150- unit project has 35,000 square feet of amenities between the two towers, plus outdoor amenities.

The 7.4-acre Aventura ParkSquare at the corner of Waterways Boulevard and Northeast 207th Street consists of five buildings. They include a new luxury condominium with 131 residences; 100,000 square feet of Class A office space; 55,000 square feet of ground-level retail and restaurant space; a 45,000-square-foot medical center; a luxury senior living tower; and a 207-room Starwood Aloft Hotel.

Aloft is just one of several new hotels. The 233-room AC Hotel Miami Aventura north of the mall opened in July 2017. The 192-room Aventura Hilton Hotel, just to the south of the mall, will soon break ground.


Source: Miami Herald

Best-known as a megalopolis, it’s South Florida’s smaller cities that are grabbing the attention of Estate Investments Group (EIG).

Here are two of their most recent projects in the past month:

  • The investment firm currently focusing on multifamily closed on $51 million in construction financing for a new luxury multifamily property called Soleste Alameda in the small city of West Miami, which is only three-quarters of a square mile with a population of about 6,000.
  • The company also closed on $34 million in construction financing for its 211-unit Soleste Bay Village in the Downtown Urban Village of Palmetto Bay, a larger city of about 24,000 residents.

“Neighborhoods throughout Miami are going from overlooked to booming at an incredible pace,” said Robert Suris, Founder and Principal of EIG. “While the Village of Palmetto Bay has been growing and evolving at a steady rate over the last couple of years, the levels of interest from developers, investors and potential residents are really starting to pick up. The entire area is on the cusp of some major activity and we’re going to be ready,”

The company is bullish on the continued growth of residential demand throughout Palmetto Bay as well as the entire South Dade region, says a news release.

The multifamily Soleste Alameda community is the fifth EIG funded property in the city of West Miami. Construction is already underway with completion slated for early 2020.

Resort Style Amenities Are Standard

As is the case with all EIG-developed properties, Soleste Bay Village will feature a variety of resort-inspired amenities including a hotel-style pool with an expansive sundeck and private cabanas, a state-of-the-art fitness facility and a children’s playground, among other amenities.

Currently, EIG has five additional Soleste-branded properties across varying stages of development throughout South Florida. These include the 338-unit Soleste Twenty2, the 330-unit Soleste Blue Lagoon, the 306-unit Soleste Alameda, the 350-unit Soleste Grand Central which is also located in another Qualified Opportunity Zone, the 99-unit Soleste Park View and the 251-unit Soleste Uptown.

EIG has completed and sold over $200 million in residential real estate assets in the past two years with another $400+ million in multifamily assets in different stages of its pipeline.


Source: GlobeSt.

In what could be a substantial step forward in local efforts to stem a housing affordability crisis, the city of Miami appears ready to begin requiring developers of some new residential towers to set aside a percentage of units for residents with low incomes.

The “inclusionary zoning” measure, just approved by the City Commission on a preliminary 4-0 vote, is the first in Miami-Dade County to mandate inclusion of affordable housing in new private development projects. The new rules are set for a second and final commission vote in December.

The zoning will apply only in a limited area that sits east of Overtown and west of Northeast Second Avenue and the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, within the Omni community redevelopment district.

But city officials say it could produce thousands of new affordable dwellings relatively quickly as high-rise construction in the affected area continues to boom. The zone encompasses as many as 30 city blocks and large stretches of blighted or vacant land already undergoing redevelopment.

“It’s coming on very fast,” said Miami Commissioner Ken Russell, whose district includes the Omni area and who sponsored the measure. “I think the effect of this down the road could be quite significant.”

The measure passed on first reading with support from some local property owners and land-use attorneys who might in other circumstances object to the requirement for affordable housing. An attempt at inclusionary zoning at the county level, pushed by Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan two years ago, failed to win commission approval in part because of vociferous opposition by developers.

But the two-step approach adopted by the city was embraced by some developers. That’s because it will also upzone the area, providing the developers more buildable density to offset the lower revenue they will generate from setting aside specific percentages of units for strictly defined affordable and workforce housing.

The measure will apply in an area stretching from Interstate 395 north to the south border of the historic Miami City Cemetery at roughly Northeast 18th Street, and between Northeast Second Avenue on the east to North Miami Avenue — though it carves out the Miami-Dade School Board properties. A new zoning map for the area must also be approved by the commission separately.

Developers were amenable to the approach because it’s already been tested in about half a dozen approved residential projects. The Argentinian Melo Group first proposed inclusion of workforce housing in three towers they are developing in the area in exchange for authorization to build more densely, and at least two other area developers followed suit.

But each of those was approved on a case-by-case basis by the city. Instead of piecemealing it, city officials proposed making inclusion of affordable housing the rule across the board.

“It’s taken market-rate developers and introduced them to a world of affordability that they may not have been comfortable with,” Russell said. “They recognized this is just another way to build another project, and it works. In order to make this work we decided on a bit of carrot-and-stick approach,” Russell added, referring to the inclusionary zoning rules. “The additional density is the carrot and not making affordability an option is the stick.”

“Since the new zoning measure was introduced, other area owners have expressed interest in developing once it’s in place, saidIris Escarra, an attorney with land-use powerhouse Greenberg Traurig who has shepherded dozens of real-estate projects to approval, including the three Melo towers in the area. “There are other owners in that area who want this as well,” Escarra said in a recent interview. “I really think the city is at the forefront of creating solutions for affordable housing. The three Melo towers include a total of 255 units for workforce housing, usually described as apartments affordable to teachers and police officers.”

The new city measure seeks to expand the range of affordable housing in Omni projects to people with even lower incomes. It gives developers the option of setting aside a larger number of workforce units or smaller numbers of units targeting low and very low-income people.

Under established legal definitions, affordable housing is aimed at households making 80 percent of the Miami-Dade median income or less, while workforce housing should be affordable to families at 120 percent of the median income. That means, for instance, rents affordable for a family of four with a household income of $62,950 or less, according to published figures for 2018. Workforce housing would comprise units with rents affordable to a family of four with an income up to $94,440.

But Russell and city officials want to make those income targets even lower to reflect the fact that incomes in the city are significantly less than those across the rest of the county. He and Commissioner Manolo Reyes successfully sponsored a companion resolution ordering city administrators to develop a housing income chart for the city that would more accurately reflect what its residents can afford.

Those new affordable and workforce units, Russell stressed, will be mixed in with and indistinguishable from market-rate units in the buildings, just as they are in the new Melo Group buildings. In traditional low-income housing development, entire buildings are devoted to affordable units, with few if any market-rate dwellings, often resulting in segregation of people by income.

“The idea behind the inclusionary zoning rule,” Russell said, “is to produce truly mixed-income buildings and a mixed-income community at a time when Miamians are increasingly physically separated by class. It will also allow lower-income people who work in or around downtown to live close to jobs and schooling, and not have to move to far-flung, more affordable suburbs where much of their time and income is tied to car use. It’s going to a blended neighborhood. Miamians are already becoming divided by income and neighborhood. We don’t believe it has to be that way.”

Russell and Escarra said the inclusionary measure will likely also produce more affordable housing more quickly than the traditional approach, which entails a grindingly slow process of cobbling together money and tax credits from state, local and federal governments and private lenders. Miami-Dade has used that approach, in tandem with private affordable-housing developers, to produce thousands of affordable housing units across the county. Those sources, however, are drying up and few new projects are winning approval for the needed credits and financing, they said.

“This will create the affordable housing a lot faster than the city could build it,” Escarra said.


Source: Miami Herald

Foreign home buyers have hit the pause button in South Florida.

Between August 2017 and July 2018, the most recent period for sales data by Florida Realtors, foreign buyers purchased $22.9 billion worth of Florida real estate, a 5% decline from the previous 12-month level.

Foreign buyer purchases accounted for 19% of Florida’s existing home sales versus 21% in the same period a year ago. Florida real estate from a foreign perspective is concentrated on South Florida, with Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach the main attractions.  The foreign buyer share to dollar volume of real estate sold there is nearly twice the national foreign buyer average of 10%.

Foreign buyers, mainly from Canada and Brazil, purchased 52,000 properties, a 15% drop from the previous 12-month cycle. All told, foreign investors made up 13% of Florida’s existing home sales, down from 15% a year earlier. On a national level, foreign investors buy around 5% of existing housing stock on the market, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Florida sales data were released late October. Latin American and Caribbean buyers accounted for the largest fraction of Florida’s foreign buyers at 36%, followed by Canadians at 22%, Europeans at 19% and Asians at 11%. The Asian investors are dominated by China money.

European buyers have been trending downward since 2016 , and while it looks like it coincides with the election of President Donald Trump, the National Association of Realtors blames uncertainty about income and employment from those employed in Brexit U.K.

Foreign buyers from Mexico have been cut in half, accounting for less than 1% now, and Venezuelan buyers are almost non-existent as most people who can afford to leave and want to leave have done so already. Venezuela is mired in political and economic crisis.

Speaking of crisis, Argentina used to be on par with Brazil in terms of Latin American buyers in Miami. But an economic crisis there (yes, another one) has put its share below that of China‘s.

Chinese buyers, who account for around 6% of Florida‘s total foreign investors today, up from just 3% in 2017, tend to be new immigrants. Most foreign investors are buying property for real estate appreciation and income. But for the Chinese investor, only 39% are treating their purchase as a fixed-income security. Many are migrating and settling there.

Despite being known as a luxury residences market for second homes, most of the foreign buyers, in South Florida anyway, are not buying anything near million-dollar properties, according to FloridaRealtors.

Some 71% of foreign investments into South Florida real estate was into properties valued at less than half a million dollars.The median purchase price among foreign buyers was $286,500 in the recent period, versus $259,400 last year. Foreign investors tend to spend on average 20% more than the locals do, with Brazilians and Chinese investors being the biggest spenders. They dish out at least $300,000 for a property.

Due to weak emerging markets and a strong dollar, Florida real estate brokers say they worked with less foreign buyers in the past 12 months ending in July. Still, some 41% of respondents surveyed by the National Association of Realtors say they worked with an international client, down from 44% last year. That’s nearly double the national average of 23% of brokers working on foreign purchased real estate deals.

Only 23% of Florida Realtors said they saw an increase in international business, down from 26% saying so last year.  And less than one-third of respondents said they saw more traffic from foreign buyers in the period ending in July, down from 33% last year.

As a result of weak emerging markets, and a strong dollar, just 34% of those surveyed by the Realtors Association believe this next 12-month cycle will be better than the previous one. That’s not a huge difference from a year ago when 37% of respondents said the same thing.

South Florida real estate has also been hit with the lack of new land deals and rising prices for new development projects. Many developers have been inching further north into central Florida instead, with foreign real estate investors just starting to discover it thanks to continuous Disney World expansion.

“Thanks to Disney’s and Universal’s expansions coupled with affordable real estate pricing, we are still seeing an accelerated interest in purchasing real estate (here) with buyers from as far away as China, Brazil, Colombia, and Iceland,” says Noah Breakstone, managing partner of BTI Partners and key developer behind The Grove Resort and Water Park in Orlando. “Lots of buyers see it as a better value than Miami.”

According to the National Association of Realtors, just under 11% of the state’s foreign buyers were investing in Orlando in 2018, down from 9.4% this year. Foreigners still prefer the Miami area, which stretches all the way to West Palm Beach. Some 54% of international buyers were heading there so far this year, up from 52.6% in 2017.


Source: Forbes

A hotel made of stacked shipping containers is being proposed on a riverfront lot in Downtown Miami for a new “hip” boutique development called The Ship Yard.

The shipping containers would be stacked seven stories high and converted into guest rooms, according to a presentation submitted to the Miami River Commission. That is shorter than the 12 stories permitted by zoning on the lot.

A gourmet food court with food served from converted shipping containers will be surrounded by “zen-like” gardens and landscaping. There will also be a bar area, pool area, sundeck and hot tub. Renderings also appear to show a new river walk.

Melo Group’s partially completed Flagler On The River restaurant complex is across the river, along with The Wharf.

A hearing by the River Commission is scheduled November 5.


Source: The Next Miami