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

Israel’s Mishorim Development Group is preparing to develop a mixed-use project after closing on the purchase of a parking garage.

Mishorim paid $18,250,000 for the Suntrust Annex garage. Crocker Partners was the seller. Real estate broker Shai Ben Ami represented Mishorim in the transaction. Mishorim, has holdings in Israel, the U.S. and Canada, and is led by CEO Gil Blutrich.

According to Ben Ami, Mishorim has retained the services of Kobi Karp to design a mixed-use project for the site. It will include hotel, residential, and “great retail.” The 247,000-square-foot garage, located at 255 Northeast First Street, is situated on a 37,500-square foot lot.

The property is across from the Yotel development site, and a block and a half away from the Waldorf Astoria development site. Buildable square footage for the Mishorim site totals 1.35 million square feet, which includes zoning for 860 residential units.

Blutrich and Ben Ami also own the 4,350-square-foot retail space at the 37-story Centro tower nearby. They secured two leases for that space five months after purchasing it at $75.00 per square foot, which is believed to be among the highest retail rents for Downtown Miami.


Source: The Next Miami

On a cramped corner lot in South Miami, a venture backed by a national real estate group has won city permission to build a compact house out of two shipping containers and reserve it for a low-income buyer.

The team behind the planned 480-square-foot house sees it as a launching pad for a quick system of producing modular, attractive housing that works well on the extremely small lots that are scattered across Miami-Dade County.

“There are these shotgun lots everywhere” in low-income neighborhoods, said Evan Fancher, director of the South Miami anti-blight district that’s backing the South Miami project. “There are these right-of-ways and weird corner lots, and no builder will touch them.”

As Miami-Dade struggles with one of the country’s largest housing gaps between rich and poor, tiny lots could offer a small but steady fix. While the stakes are high for affordable-housing developers who compete for government dollars to build large high-rise complexes where thousands of people can live, spare lots offer the chance to create single-family homes one buyer at a time.

Cargo containers — bus-sized steel boxes plentiful in a port city like Miami — lend themselves to small-lot building. At the Little River Box Company, Gayle Zalduondo’s team has already cut 10 feet off two standard 40-foot cargo containers to fit into the confines of the 3,200-square-foot South Miami lot. The Miami Association of Realtors hired Little River Box to create the South Miami house as a test case in how cargo containers can make it easier to create affordable housing.

“We’re trying to figure out the barriers,” said Danielle Blake, head of government affairs for the Realtors group and the person running the project.

The two containers slated for the South Miami house can be assembled at the West Little River warehouse where Zalduondo and crew are already at work on a 40-foot temporary bar for a pop-up restaurant in Overtown. That’s next to a four-bedroom living space that’s set to be converted into a houseboat on the Miami River.

Upstairs in her office, there are plans for cargo containers stacked atop each other for a low-cost apartment building, and another set of cottages for a Doral developer who wants to create affordable teacher housing in the parking lot of a planned school.

“Right now, we’re doing one a week,” said Zalduondo, a welder who shifted from high-end furniture to cargo containers about five years ago. “We want to start doing one a day.”

Assembling and finishing the container homes in the warehouse make it easier to build on a cramped lot, since a construction crew doesn’t have to camp out on the land for months to build a traditional home. But the story behind this would-be South Miami cottage shows the challenges for the container-home option.

First, there’s red tape. The Miami Association of Realtors, which is covering some of the building costs, spent about 18 months before securing South Miami’s approval to assemble the containers into a one-bedroom, one-bath cottage on the 6100 block of 63rd Terrace. One review board required landscaping upgrades and other add-ons that the builders say added about $25,000 to the budget.

There’s also the challenge that creating homes out of cargo containers isn’t quite as cheap as people might think. Miami-Dade commissioners grumbled about the estimated $180,000 asking price for the South Miami container house when presented with the plan at a committee hearing this week.

“The idea is commendable, but the price is not affordable,” said Commissioner Joe Martinez, who represents the West Kendall area. “I think that’s way too expensive. Does it even include the land? Or is it just the shed?”

The capped sales price — the Realtors group said it would take less if no buyers qualified — includes the land, and would only be available to purchasers who earn less than $51,000 a year. That’s within the range of Miami-Dade’s workforce-housing program, which targets people who have a steady income but can’t afford a place to live. Under the county program, the land would include a requirement that it be sold only to workforce buyers in the future.

The overall price would still make it one of the cheapest houses in South Miami. A recent search of realtor.com found no single-family houses selling for less than $200,000 in South Miami. The closest to that price was an 800-square-foot “fixer-upper” marketed as an “opportunity to buy at a cheap price, renovate, rebuild,” then rent or sell “at top market.”

Even Miam-Dade’s own affordable-housing program lets builders sell homes on donated county surplus lots for up to $205,000. But those houses typically come with multiple bedrooms for families, rather than the couple or single occupant that’s the target for the South Miami container house.

Ariovistus Lundy’s Palmetto Homes builds single-family houses under Miami-Dade’s affordable-housing program, using surplus county lots. He has a house for sale on the 9600 block of Northwest 19th Avenue in Miami, and the asking price is the county maximum of $205,000. He’s expecting a quick sale.

“They can be sold before you even finish the house,” Lundy said. “There’s more people than affordable housing right now.”

The difference: That house on 19th Avenue has about 1,500 square feet of living space, enough for three of the cargo-container homes planned for South Miami. That makes the square-foot asking price about $136 for Lundy, versus $375 for the container home. The disparity can make it even harder to secure loans for low-income buyers, since banks typically use square-footage prices for appraisals.

Fancher, director of the South Miami Community Redevelopment Area, said his agency is ready to assist with grants to cover some of the down payment, which could bring the monthly mortgage cost below $1,200. A list of comparable homes provided by the Realtors group showed some nearby condos in the 500-square-foot range selling at close to the $180,000 price, but the one-bedroom houses starting at $300,000.

The next big hurdle for the Realtors group is to secure the land. Miami-Dade owns the 3,200-square-foot lot and first posted it on a list of surplus property available for purchase since 2015. There have been no buyers.

The County Commission’s Housing committee approved transferring it to the Realtors group at its Tuesday meeting, and a final vote is slated for later this year.

“You’re getting a lot of obstacles,” Commissioner Barbara Jordan told Blake and Zalduondo before voting to advance the proposal. “The more innovative we can be to take away obstacles, the better.”

Click here to view the Miami Herald news video ‘Little River Box Company Is Building Low-Cost Houses Out Of Shipping Containers’


Source: Miami Herald

Frank Cestero is in a sweet spot. The Puerto Rican gets to enjoy the warm, tropical weather of Palm Beach County in the US state of Florida, while the small company he works for is booming thanks to robust growth in the global renewable energy sector.

Cestero is the chief financial officer (CFO) of SolarTech Universal, headquartered in the coastal city of Riviera Beach. Founded in 2012, SolarTech‘s panels are made using advanced robotics and solar cell technology designed by the company’s European partner, Meyer Burger, a Swiss firm operating in Germany and Singapore.

Its cutting-edge equipment allows the green energy company to focus on the premium end of the market. That seems to be working out. SolarTech will be adding a second production line by the end of the year, creating an expected 70 new jobs in the process.

“Demand is robust,” said Cestero. “We’re very bullish over the next 24 months.”

Favorable Business Climate

Governments and businesses have increasingly set their sights on harnessing the power of the sun to meet their energy needs. Furthermore, government policy changes in response to climate change have created incentives and mandates at the local, state and national levels.

Technological improvements, meanwhile, have slashed solar power production costs, making it more accessible to commercial and residential customers. Demand for clean power has also been on the rise over the past several years, with consumers seeing the benefits of shifting to clean sources of energy and decentralized power distribution.

Against this backdrop, companies big and small are optimistic about the future. Market players like CED Greentech, a large US solar panel distributor and SolarTech customer, have increased their investments over the past couple of months.

“The market is pretty dynamic,” said Tristan Tedford, a CED Greentech account manager setting up shop in Pompano Beach, a city just north of Fort Lauderdale. “Module prices have dropped and you have an emerging electric vehicle market coming.”

The Trump Tariffs

The industry’s growth and increasing strategic significance, coupled with complaints from American solar manufacturers about unfair trade competition, were all a part of the reason why US President Donald Trump zeroed in on solar panels, among other products, for tariffs in early 2018.

“The tariff narrowed the price gap between the Chinese product and US product and by highlighting the US product, it has increased awareness of US-made products among end-users and middle-market buyers,” Cestero said.

He claims that by the end of this year SolarTech will be the only domestic manufacturer of exclusively US-made panels, with over 70 percent of its inputs sourced domestically. This is significant because it gives a niche player like SolarTech access to the lucrative public sector, as state and local governments strive to meet CO2-reduction targets by increasing public investment in green energy.

Industry Backlash

But some in the US solar industry have aggressively pushed back against Trump‘s tariffs. One example is SunPower, which is majority-owned by French oil giant Total. The San Jose-based company threatened to curtail its new capital investments and slash jobs if it didn’t receive an exemption from Trump‘s tariffs.

The company builds most of its solar products in Mexico and the Philippines and has argued that the millions of dollars it would pay in import duties threatened its growth plans. After months of lobbying the Trump administration, SunPower received an exemption from the tariffs, boosting the firm’s stock price.

A Solar Slowdown?

The latest industry figures value the US solar sector at $28 billion (€24.13 billion). The industry employs more than 250,000 Americans, with about 40 percent of those working in installation and 20 percent in manufacturing. Five years ago, the sector was installing 3,000 megawatts of solar capacity annually. In 2017, the market grew by as much as 10,000 megawatts.

But experts fear this kind of growth will soon be a thing of the past. Dan Whitten, a spokesman for the US Solar Energy Industries Association, said that since January, more than $2.5 billion in solar projects have been canceled and roughly 9,000 American jobs have either been lost or have not been created as a result of the tariffs.

“If demand drops because products are artificially made too expensive for consumers, nobody wins. It’s unlikely that US manufacturing will expand enough to satisfy burgeoning demand,” Whitten told DW. “While we support new US manufacturing, companies are still going to have a hard time competing with products from overseas in the years ahead.”

Made In Jacksonville

China‘s decision to cut back installed solar capacity this year by reducing subsidies has severely affected the global market for solar panels. While surging capacity had left the country struggling to build sufficient national electrical infrastructure, cuts have forced Chinese panel makers to find new buyers overseas.

In March, Florida‘s largest utility NextEra Energy agreed to buy 7 million solar panels from China‘s leading solar maker JinkoSolar Holding. Alongside that agreement, JinkoSolar is building its first US solar panel factory in Jacksonville Florida‘s most populous city.

Once the factory reaches full production after November, JinkoSolar expects it to churn out more than 1 million panels a year for the US market.

While JinkoSolar‘s new plant will boost overall US production, modern solar panel factories are increasingly automated, and profits will likely flow offshore.

Still, city officials in Jacksonville see the new Chinese investment as a major win for local businesses, particularly in services and logistics. The adjacent port expects to handle cargo shipments of raw materials and solar panel components needed for the new plant’s operations.

“In addition to creating 250 new jobs, we expect that JinkoSolar will expand its economic impact in the Jacksonville area as the demand for solar panels in the US grows,” said Tia Ford, a city spokeswoman.


Source: DW

A developer is planning to rebuild the Coconut Grove Metrorail station into a self-powered apartment and retail complex.

Grove Central will include a 330-unit apartment tower, along with retail space, parking and a bus station, according to the Miami Herald. Total cost is expected to be $200 million.

Solar panels are planned to cover the buildings, producing two megawatts of power. Underneath, massive batteries that are the size of six shipping containers will store 20-megawatts per hour of electricity.

Air condition for the building would come from a geothermal system using cold water pumped from underground. Groundwater and rainwater will also be used to provide cooling mist and for landscape irrigation.

Enough power could be generated and stored to make the building self-powered, while also powering Metrorail as it departs the station, planners say. The solar array and battery is known as an urban microgrid, and is the first of its kind in Florida.

A waste-to-energy plant that would convert sewage into power, compost and water is also in negotiations.

The developers are awaiting final approval from county transportation officials, with completion expected in 2021. Five other Metrorail stations, as well as 10.7-acres of land next to Miami Central Station by the airport, are now in planning or negotiations for similar sustainable projects.

Terra Group and Grass River Property are the developers of Grove Central, with Touzet Studio the architect. The solar project is also a pilot program for Florida Power & Light.


Source: The Next Miami

Those looking for new digs in South Florida would be wise to check out one of these areas.

Here’s where luxury home buyers are parking their money.

Coconut Grove

Coconut Grove is on the tip of many Miami real estate experts’ tongues, all of whom cite a sort of rebirth in an already prestigious area.

“The city is doing a lot to revamp the area in terms of parks and restaurants, and it has more of a community feel,” says Chad Carroll of the Carroll Group at Douglas Elliman.

One reason for that is an influx of office space, which has helped make the “live-work-play” lifestyle a possibility in Coconut Grove, says Karen Elmir, president of the Elmir Group with Cervera Real Estate. New stores have also come in, and CocoWalk announced in the spring that it would be adding an open-air plaza as well as new stores and restaurants to the long-established shopping and dining center. Plus, there are plenty of new places to call home.

“There are many new high-end buildings with top-of-the-line amenities,” says Ms. Elmir, who specializes in sales in the area and has shown homes there to celebrities like models Elle Macpherson and Hannah Jeter and basketball player Hassan Whiteside.

Ms. Elmir says prices have gone up in recent years, citing sales at the Bjarke Ingels–designed Grove at Grand Bay. In 2012, she was selling residences at about $800 a square foot. Now, they’re more like $1,100 to $1,200 per square foot, she says.

“It’s one of the hottest areas in all of Miami,” says Daniel de la Vega, president of ONE Sotheby’s International Realty.

He is handling sales at the not-yet-opened Fairchild Coconut Grove, where 26 luxury condominiums range from $1.4 million to $4.6 million.

East Edgewater

East Edgewater is also making waves.

“It’s minutes away from the new Design District,” Ms. Elmir says. “It’s minutes away from Miami Beach.”

Not that one would necessarily want to leave. The area is home to several new retail options—think high-end shops and gourmet restaurant—and has sweeping views of Biscayne Bay.

“Beyond emerging, it’s developing,” says Beth Butler, president of Florida Compass. “There’s been more retail and residential action.…It’s a hot neighborhood.”

She says the condo market is especially strong. The neighborhood has single-family homes lining the side streets, as well. New residential developments include Aria on the Bay, in which Grammy Award–winning producer Timbaland bought a home. A three-story penthouse is for sale for just under $13 million.

There’s also the Biscayne Beach Residences, where Ms. Elmir is showing a $10.5 million penthouse. Paraiso, a project from Related Cos., is bringing 1,400 new condos in four towers, as well as retail options, to service the new spike in population. A new beach club and restaurant are part of the mix.

Downtown Miami

Walkability is one of the main draws of Downtown Miami, according to Jill Eber of the Miami Beach–based real estate team The Jills.

“Everything is superclose,” Jill Eber says. “It’s like a city within a city.…It’s like a little New York there.” That includes the American Airlines Arena, home to the Miami Heat basketball team, cultural centers, and plenty of shops and restaurants.

Ms. Eber says the number of baby carriages in the neighborhood has increased in recent years.

The Brightline train is now connecting passengers from downtown to West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, and developers are looking to the area as another “live-work-play” location.

“Downtown shares its southern border with Brickell,” Ms. Eber says. “The whole area is seeing a lot of interest. Before, it was just a bunch of parking lots.”

The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, which opened in 2017, and the Perez Art Museum Miami, which features modern work, are highlights of the area.

“A renewed sense of community has spurred new events and projects,” Ms. Butler says. “One new project is Canvas, a 37-story tower offering 513 fully finished apartments.”


Source: Mansion Global

This glorious 3BR/3.5 BA residence located at 60 Edgewater Drive in Coral Gables is elegance and ease personified.

From the stately lobby, private elevator foyer, 10’ ceilings and two spacious terraces with awe-inspiring Bay and skyline views, to countless bespoke elements including designer moldings and cooks island, no detail has been overlooked. Elegant finishes, executed in granite, marble and the finest Brazilian Ipe abound. The eat-in brunch/breakfast nook plus the grand master suite and its luxurious marble bath and dressing closet complete an incomparable lifestyle. Love entertaining? It’s effortless here with the configured prep-kitchen coupled with two distinct living room conversation areas and sit-down dining for 12 or more.



If it’s this grand now, what magic would your own personal imprint create? 

Call Andrew Kruss at 305-496-2950 to set up a showing!